Name: Nick Haselgrove
Currently: Winemaker & Managing Director
Please, tell us about how you got into wine, the wine industry and how your career developed?
I am a 3rd generation winemaker. My grandfather, Ron Haselgrove OBE was one of the modern day industry’s great innovators at Mildara Winery and had a huge belief in R&D (and thus was Chair of AWRI for a number of years). My father, James ran the Coonawarra Mildara winery where I grew up amongst the vines and winery. I made my first wine at 4 years old. So I grew up in the industry and after we moved to McLaren Vale my winemaking genome took me to Roseworthy and thus my professional career started from there. I have now been winemaking in McLaren Vale since 1989 (was a cellar hand prior to this and during my studies) and have also travelled widely across France, Spain, Portugal and California.
What is your philosophy to making wine and viticulture?
To be as true to the site as possible but also adopt blending to ensure wine consistency and interest. Whilst I do believe in minimal intervention (but I am not necessarily a fan of the current fads, like ‘orange’ wine), I also appreciate the benefits of a scientific approach as well and always look for ways to improve quality, improve costs and offer my customers with a wine they can trust. I do see benefits for consumers with Organic (and Biodynamic) wines but I prefer consistency thus do not yet embrace the risk these directions entail.
Which cultivar is your favourite to work with and why?
Shiraz as it is very diverse depending on region, site, vine age and winemaker influences. Plus it is still a variety that Australian winemakers can claim, stylistically, as our own! (as opposed to Syrah). It is a multi-faceted grape that makes wines from Rose to VP and is a strong base wine in the context of a blend – multiregional and /or multi-variety.
How do you see the future of wine production and what are the challenges and the opportunities?
The domination of corporate sellers/Supermarkets will pose very difficult conditions for winemakers to endure as they move towards their own label wines and squeeze the juice out of the artisanal visionaries that add the diversity to our cellars. Hopefully this doesn’t ‘dumb down’ wine production and winemakers can continue their artistic impressions.
Opportunities will continue to be in niches and directly with our customers. New varieties are exciting but I think the proven mainstream varieties will continue to be appreciated by wine aficionados worldwide.
The challenge for the industry is profitable growth. To grow in the best way there needs to be ‘patient capital’ and not investors after a quick buck.
Where do you see the global wine market in 2025?
2025 I think will see the widespread adoption of technology that will drive B2C sales (imagine the iPhone 16s) . As the markets like China emerge further we will again have some competitive tension between our markets. This will help to leverage our increasing reputation as a country of fine winemakers rather than an industry dominated by large scale winemaking.
Assuming the wine businesses & winemakers do not make the same mistakes as the past (like the BOGOF deals in UK, Parkerisation of wine styles in the USA etc), then I see a rosy future for niche products and styles that will continue to resonate with customers.
In saying this, winemakers have to believe in the wines they make (and not
worry about the scores quite so much!) and not just be driven by the needs of a supermarket that eventually sucker punches them. Hopefully the customer’s reliance on purchasing with a large discount is a past sales strategy and we all add value – which is not always about the cheapest price.
@ by Dominik Kozlik – Zeitgeist Sommeliers – www.sommeliers.at