Willy Lunn – Consultant Winemaker

I grew up in rural South Australia in a small farming community, spending most of my childhood at the beach with my 5 other siblings. I have always felt a great affiliation with the land and still consider myself an applied farmer!

My introduction to winemaking was straight out of high school working as a cellar rat at Petaluma under the watch full eye of Brian Croser. It was at Petaluma that I forged great international relationships with now world class winemakers. The Petaluma experience taught me the value of quality and that there is ‘No compromise for Quality’.

Having travelled extensively in Australia and beyond I ended up at Argyle winery in the Willamette Valley in 1988. Joining old time friend and mentor, Rollin Soles, we started making cool climate sparkling wines later destined for dinners at the White House.

It was at Argyle that my passion for cool climate viticulture and premium winemaking came to fruition. This friendship lasted twenty years bringing me back to Argyle to run the winemaking in2003. It continues today after 30+ years.

After returning home in the early nineties I enrolled and consequently graduated for Adelaide University with a Bachelor of Oenology. I returned to Petaluma relishing in the opportunity to make great Clare Rieslings, Adelaide Hills sparkling, Chardonnays and Coonawarra reds.

2000 saw me move to Balhannah to help Michael Hill-Smith and Martin Shaw build their state-of-art winery. Here we made arguably Australia’s greatest lunch time wine, S+S  Sauvignon Blanc as well as award winning Cool climate Chardonnay and Shiraz.

In 2003 Rollin Soles lured me back to Argyle winery where together we made world class Pinot Noir and sparkling wines. This year we were awarded Argyles 9th Top 100 wine in the Wine Spectator with a sparkling wine which holds the distinction of being the highest pointed domestic sparkling wine ever.

I returned to Australia in 2008, taking the reins at Yering Station in the Yarra Valley as Chief Winemaker. Joining a family owned winery, concentrating on regionally focused, premium quality wines was too much to ignore. I love the delicacy of cool climate winemaking and the intimacy of site characteristics and flavors. 

Winemaking has allowed me to continue being a farmer but also to make something special from the land. I feel privileged to do so and lucky enough to see it distributed across the globe.

March 2016