Sydney/Pokolbin, 14 May 2018: Today McWilliam’s Wines Group announces a new era for winemaking at the iconic Mount Pleasant winery as Adrian Sparks moves into the role of Chief Winemaker.
Only the fifth Chief Winemaker in the 98-year history of the winery, Adrian sits among some of Australia’s most celebrated winemaking alumni including the late great Maurice O’Shea and most recently, the highly celebrated Jim Chatto.
Adrian has proved his incredible skill and passion for the Hunter Valley not only to the McWilliam’s Wines Group but to the wider industry making him a natural choice for the role.
Having worked across the Mount Pleasant portfolio for over four years and a further 16 with the group, Adrian has a great respect and love for both the Hunter Valley wine region and the heritage of the brand he now heads up.
“It is an absolute honour and privilege to be given this opportunity. Mount Pleasant is home to some of the country’s best wines and vineyard sites. It’s part of Australia’s winemaking history and has a really authentic story to tell.” commented Adrian.
“Working with fruit from vines planted by arguably Australia’s greatest winemaker is certainly something to treasure and upholding that outstanding quality is something I’ll never become complacent with. The future is exciting.” he continued.
Wines developed under Adrian’s meticulous and skilful hand have been awarded numerous trophies, medals and commendations. Most recently the ‘Winery of the Year’ award cited in Halliday’s 2017 Wine Companion as well as ‘NSW Wine of the Year’ in 2013, ‘Best Young Dry White Table Wine of Show’ at the 2013 Royal Melbourne Wine Awards and the ‘Best Table Wine of Show’ Trophy at the 2006 Vintage Cellars National Wine Show.
Adrian is a regular judge at wine shows including the Halliday Chardonnay Challenge, Australian National Wine Show and Royal Brisbane Wine Show among others. He also most recently represented McWilliam’s Wines Group at the highly prestigious Len Evans Tutorial in 2017.
Jim Chatto will continue to be part of McWilliam’s Wines Group as Group Chief Winemaker – McWilliam’s Wines Group. He has seen Adrian develop during his four-year tenure at the helm of Mount Pleasant and believes that Adrian will uphold the integrity of the Mount Pleasant name, continuing the tradition of crafting benchmark Hunter Valley wines.
“Since joining Mount Pleasant in 2014, Adrian has fully embraced the unique sites and legacy of Maurice O’Shea. Adrian is a highly skilled and intuitive winemaker, with soft, yet sure, hands. He will undoubtedly carve his own path, whilst being true to the vision of our country’s most celebrated winemaker,” said Jim of the appointment.
“I look forward to working closely with Adrian on the next chapter of the great Australian wine story that is Mount Pleasant” he commented.
Adrian will oversee all winemaking and viticultural efforts that take place on the Mount Pleasant site while Jim will oversee the entire McWilliam’s Wines Group winemaking efforts offering himself to blending and style direction and mentoring teams to finesse their brands and craft.