Robert Bowen

Rob Bowen on Winemaking Philosophy.

Rob on nature

My winemaking philosophy has always been to be a custodian of nature. As a custodian, a winemaker must respect the intrinsic value of each patch of vines and protect the fruit flavours of the grapes. A winemaker’s duty is to make the best of what is in the raw material, after all, wine is the fermented product of the grape.  A winemaker must understand the vineyard where the fruit grows, if they are not the viticulturist they must be his shadow.

Rob on world class wines

It has always been my mission to make the very best wine that the vineyard is capable of producing, world class wines. Though the wonderful red wines of Bordeaux are the ultimate expression of the fruit from that region, they are no greater than the best wines from Margaret River or Frankland, rather the expression of the fruit flavour from that region that has been captured by a skilled and sympathetic winemaker.

Rob on finesse

When making wines with oak, either red or white, the oak must be there to support flavour and never to dominate. As Maynard Amerine said in a book written some 50 years ago; “Once oak becomes a dominant factor it is considered spoilage”. Consequently, there is no wine that is 'over oaked' they are either miss-oaked or spoiled. If you want to drink a glass of oak drink Bourbon!

The same goes for all other winemaking techniques such as Malo-lactic fermentation in whites or extended skin maceration in reds. When these techniques cover the fruit flavours these wines are spoiled.

Rob on enjoying wines

Perhaps the other part of my philosophy of winemaking is to produce wines that people enjoy. One can make the best wine in the world but if nobody wants to drink it one need not begin the process!

Rob's influences

A person who influenced me greatly was Max Schubert, the ultimate winemaker's winemaker, a man who lived for his wines. One of the worrying thoughts of a winemaker is that they might actually make a wine that they think is great. In this case, one of two things has happened, firstly a miracle has occurred or the winemaker has lost the plot and has failed to see faults that are always there. I expressed this to Max once and he said that if I was to hold onto that thought I should be OK. I have always said the day I make a wine I really like is the day I go make beer.

I believe there are still plenty of fine wines in me as I strive for the best I can do each vintage.

"Winemaking is not what I do, it is who I am."

Robert Bowen

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