Interview with Ron Liebich
What first sparked your passion for winemaking?
Eating a variety of grapes – I just loved the flavours.
How did you get your start as a winemaker?
When I was working for the family business I was persuaded by Uncle Darkie to learn the ropes so I could take over from him. I studied a Diploma of Oenology for two years at Roseworthy Agricultural College (now part of The University of Adelaide). In the 1968 vintage I worked under John Vickery at Leo Buring Wines which was a great stepping stone especially for learning the subtleties of white winemaking.
What are the things that inspire you most in your winemaking?
Having people enjoy the wine as much as I do. The beauty of grapes, vines and wine regions will always keep me inspired. I love the challenge of replicating the flavours in the vineyard through to the glass.
Which grape variety do you most enjoy making and why?
All of them, but if I had to name one of each style…
White – love the aromatics and spice of Gewürztraminer
Red – of course I love Barossa Shiraz but really enjoy the challenge of Pinot Noir as its combination of softness, fruit intensity and fine tannins always intrigues me
Fortified – Semillon is my ultimate base wine. As ultra-ripe fruit it is bottled sunshine, albeit with a burnt honeycomb flavour, another bonus it ages quickly in barrel.
What is your ultimate wine & food combination?
White – aged Riesling with blue swimmer crab sandwiches
Red – ’71 Rovalley Cab Shiraz with lamb shanks falling off the bone
Fortified – Classic Semillon with fried ripe banana and Golden North vanilla ice cream
In your opinion, what is it about wine that makes it so intriguing?
Wine is a reflection of the vintage. The soil, the vineyard philosophy, the winemaker are all fascinating contributions to wine. Not to mention the range of different varieties which are ever increasing in Australia.
When not in the vineyard or cellar, what do you enjoy doing?
I follow most sports (favourites are cricket and AFL), going to the movies and listening to 50’s and 60’s music. On summer evenings, I am playing lawn bowls at the Lyndoch bowling club. I also love socialising with friends and family, always with good food and wine.