“Over the years I have come to understand that good wines largely make themselves apart from very minor guidance and shaping. To this end, and where possible, I prefer to have a minimal impact on the winemaking process, and to let those inherent grape flavours speak of their vineyard origin.”
Tony grew up in New Zealand and studied Physical and Analytical Chemistry. Whilst at University he became fascinated with the emerging wine industry in Canterbury. “I loved to go and taste wines at the local vineyards in the weekends. I became so obsessed with it that I went on to study Oenology and Viticulture with the intention of a career in the wine industry.” said Tony.
Being a young lad looking for adventure, Tony relished the opportunity to gain experience from a variety of wine regions including Gisborne (NZ), Hawkes Bay (NZ); Marlborough (NZ), Waipara (NZ), Frankland, (WA); Barossa Valley, (SA); Upper Hunter Valley (NSW); Sonoma County (California, USA); Orange (NSW). Whilst in Orange Tony became aware of a new winery start-up in Bowral, Southern Highlands owned by John Large, a very successful wine industry retailer and entrepreneur.
“I met with John and it became evident that he wanted to focus on making top quality wine, which was exactly what I wanted to do. So I applied, got the job and have been the winemaker at Centennial since the winery was built in late 2001.”
With the help of the Centennial team, Tony have won numerous wine show awards and accolades. In 2014, Centennial Vineyards became the first and only winery in the Southern Highlands to be awarded the prestigious 5 red star rating from James Halliday, the most respected wine critic in Australia.
“To improve our wines every year requires much observation, thought, reflection, and the desire to try new techniques – basically to be open-minded and not disregard anything that isn’t congruent with accepted winemaking methods. You learn something completely unexpected every year making wine.”
After 26 vintages Tony still get excited about the possibilities of the current growing season and the potential to make some great wines. He is particularly fond of making sparkling wines for their sheer complexity. No other wine is as difficult to make well due to the large number of variables involved. Having said that, Tony gets a kick out of each and every varietal for their unique quirks and challenges they bring every year.