We're pleased to welcome assistant Katnook Winemaker, Dan McNicol to the team. We recently sat down and chatted to Dan to find out a little bit more about his background and winemaking philosophy.
Tell us about your winemaking background.
I graduated from the University of Adelaide class of 2018. Before and during my studies, I worked in the vineyard and winery at Wirra Wirra in McLaren Vale for around 7 years.
Initially, I was more interested in viticulture but decided to go into winemaking, so I have a deep appreciation for the vineyard/winery connection and letting the fruit speak for itself. I see the role of a winemaker as nurturing the wine along its way to bottle.
Watching the process of fruit progressing on the vine and the satisfaction of seeing it go through the winery is extremely rewarding. It’s great to have something to show for all the hard work.
How are you finding Coonawarra so far?
I hadn’t ever visited the Coonawarra wineries before arriving here in November 2018 to start my role as assistant winemaker. It was so dry when I arrived so I was pleased to see the recent rain. The wines here have so much potential and I love that this area feels like true countryside - relaxed and easy going.
The scenery is very different to what I’m used to from McLaren Vale, a lot flatter and vineyard architecture is different. There’s a lot of redevelopment, which is positive for the region, as growers work hard to improve regional grape quality.
Arriving in Coonawarra, I’m happy to be amongst a nice bunch of people, close to the beach and to nice fishing spots such as, Noracriena Beach - a sheltered bay near Robe. It’s wonderful to be close to beautiful scenery and have to say, am loving the crayfish!
And of course it'e been awesome working with Tim Heath, who with all his winemaking experience has made my first vintage here really interesting and exciting.