Jim Chatto

Chief Winemaker

Joining the team this year as McWilliam’s Chief Winemaker, Jim Chatto has become only the fourth Chief Winemaker to be based at Mount Pleasant since Maurice O’Shea established the Hunter Valley winery in 1921.

Jim is responsible for the winemaking and stylistic direction of all McWilliam’s wines across its Australian portfolio, and follows the retirement of Phil Ryan in 2012.

Jim says that he feels a great responsibility to the history of the winery and the figures that helped shape it.

“Mount Pleasant’s place in the story of Australian wine is significant and having had the rare privilege of tasting some great O’Shea wines, I’m aware of the gravitas the role carries and the enormous responsibility to honour the legacy of Maurice O’Shea and the individuality of each Mount Pleasant site, as well as the broader McWilliam’s brands.”

Jim joins McWilliam’s from Pepper Tree wines where he held the position of Chief Winemaker since 2007. During this time he was named 2009 Hunter Valley Winemaker of the Year, as well a 2010 Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year finalist. He also been nominated for Hunter Valley Winemaker of the Year in 2014.

With 20 vintages of Hunter Valley winemaking experience, Jim is also a senior wine show judge with over 14 years experience across both regional and capital city shows and has been Chairman of Judges at the Hunter Valley Wine Show since 2012.

A passionate Hunter Valley advocate, Jim says he is looking forward to working with the Mount Pleasant vineyards to express the fruit purity of each site, “My philosophy will be to proudly make Hunter wines of longevity, purity and freshness, true to their region and true to their site.”

@jimchatto

Adrian Sparks

Senior Winemaker

Winemaking was a natural calling for Adrian Sparks. At the age of just 35, Adrian carries the experience of 17 vintages and is a highly respected Australian winemaker.

Adrian joined McWilliam’s in 2002 as a graduate of Charles Sturt University and has since risen to the position of Mount Pleasant Senior Winemaker.

Among other duties Adrian has been responsible for the very successful Tumbarumba Chardonnay projects, including the 842, Barwang and Armchair Critic wines.

Adrian has also been responsible for the Tightrope Walker wines from Victoria’s Yarra Valley and the Last Horizon wines from Tasmania.

2013 alone saw Adrian’s wines collect many significant awards including: NSW Wine Awards, NSW Wine of the Year – 2012 Armchair Critic Chardonnay; Brisbane Wine Show, Best Pinot Noir of Show – 2012 Last Horizon Pinot Noir; Melbourne Wine Show, Best Young Dry White Table Wine of Show – 2012 Tightrope Walker Chardonnay.

In 2005 Adrian’s skill and passion were also rewarded when his Lillydale Estate Chardonnay, a wine that he says is one of his proudest achievements, claimed the Best Table Wine of Show Trophy at the 2006 Vintage Cellars National Wine Show.

Adrian is also an accomplished wine show judge and in 2007 he completed the Australian Wine Research Institute’s Advanced Wine Assessment Course (AWAC).

Having travelled extensively throughout the wine regions of Europe and North America, coupled with harvests in Bordeaux, Burgundy and Limoux, Adrian has a truly international view on wine style and quality.

In addition to his role at Mount Pleasant Adrian will continue to oversee the McWilliam’s Group Tasmanian and New Zealand portfolios.

@Sparksy01

Scott McWilliam

Senior Winemaker

Scott McWilliam is a sixth generation winemaker, so it is fair to say that he was born into the Australian wine industry. Needless to say, it didn’t take long before he started working in the family business- Scott was only 14 when he began helping out at Hanwood Estate in the Riverina.

Since then he has quickly established himself as one of Australia’s brightest and most promising young winemakers, being selected in the Winemaker’s Federation of Australia Future Leaders program.

Scott formally joined the McWilliam’s winemaking team in 2000. Today, Scott is a Senior Winemaker, Family Ambassador and Company Director. Scott currently lives in the prestigious Hunter Valley.

Scott has completed a Bachelor of Science at the Australian National University and a Post Graduate degree in Oenology (Winemaking) at the University of Adelaide.

He has continually diversified his skills by completing vintages in key regions throughout Australia and around the world. He is also an international wine judge with experience in all styles and origins of wine, and has been fortunate enough to have travelled to more than 45 wine regions throughout the world.

Scott also gained enormous experience during his time working for the prestigious Australian Wine Research Institute in Adelaide.

@scottmcwilliam