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Angus Seabrook - St Hallet

Angus Seabrook


“Wine can take you to some of the most beautiful places in the world, expose you to a variety of cuisines and meet some amazing personalities.”

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When did you realise you wanted to become a winemaker?
I have a family history in wine dating back to 1878, so it seemed natural to progress into the wine industry. My dad encouraged me to do some vintages first to ensure that it was a good fit for me, so I worked three overseas vintages co-currently with Australian vintages. Travelling the world and working in the international wine community helped solidify my choice to enter into a Bachelor of Science/Oenology at the University of Adelaide.

Please tell us about your career so far.
After leaving high school, I had an opportunity at a local custom crush winery that allowed me to work half the year in the Barossa and half in the Northern Hemisphere. This exposed me to the wine industries of USA, Portugal, Germany and Canada. I even snuck a small stint in at Bests-Great Western. I then began studying at university and worked at the famed Edinburgh Cellars where I gained an even greater appreciation and exposure to world wines of varying styles. On completion of university, I was offered an opportunity at Barossa Valley Estate as a vintage winemaker. I remained in this position until 2013 when I was appointed winemaker. The new role saw me looking after the company’s wine and winery assets. It was here that I was exposed to the vastness of the Barossa’s fruit sourcing and many of the distinctive soil types and miro climates. In 2020, I accepted a highly sought after and unique opportunity to join St Hallett as “Lead Winemaker” which has me overseeing the winemaking team and wines. I am excited and humbled to be working for an iconic and unique winery that has shared a close relationship with my family for many years.

What do you love most about being a winemaker?
The diversity of people, place, variety and style. Wine can take you to some of the most beautiful places in the world, expose you to a variety of cuisines and meet some amazing personalities. Food is key to wine culture, so tasting unique wines and eating is all a great part about the job.

What is your favourite wine, and what food do you typically pair with it?
I absolutely adore chardonnay. It is just so very stylistically and regionally diverse, it lends itself well to so many dishes like my favourite Saturday night flame grilled chicken. Another favourite is nebbiolo and the rustic wines of the Piedmont region in Italy that pair so very well with so many dishes.

Is there a specific process you follow when developing a new wine?
It is just so very important to understand the stylistic objective, assess what best winemaking practice and fruit sourcing is required. In order to understand the key objective, I look to immerse myself in wines of similar style or direction and apply our own winemaking philosophy. Identity and quality are always at the forefront of what we do.

How does the local climate/soil affect the wine you make?
The Barossa is just so very rich in diversity of soils and microclimates. We work hard to understand how each block reacts to seasonal conditions and the resulting wine, with the aim that we understand its uniqueness while also avoiding simple wines. We adjust our practice seasonally to ensure that we capture the distinctive qualities from each block, even to row selection or bunch selection.

Which of your own varieties do you typically indulge in?
Our 2021 Higher Earth Eden Valley Syrah looks absolutely stunning and elegant meanwhile our 2021 Blackwell Shiraz shows huge power, weight and depth. It’s a wine that has something in there for everyone.

Where do you see yourself in five years? How do you think your winemaking will evolve during this time?
I’m planning to still be at St Hallett, it’s a fantastic environment with a highly dedicated team. I believe that winemaking is about dimensions and creating these is key to crafting the best wines. More texture and more fruit weight will be vital to building on the already multi-dimensional wines.

From Wineries of South Australia Issue 6. Edited by Emily Axford.