Dean Hewitson completed his wine making degree at Roseworthy College, South Australia, in 1986. After vintages in Western Australia and the Hunter Valley, Dean worked at one of Australia's most prestigious wineries in South Australia from 1987 to 1997. During this decade Dean completed numerous vintages overseas in Beaujolais, Provence, Bordeaux and Oregon. He also achieved his Master of Food Science in Enology at University of California, Davis, from 1990 to 1992. Dean founded Hewitson in 1998 with his wife Louise - and they now share it with their three children; Ned, Henry and Harriet.
Dean Hewitson must surely rank as one of the most talented winemakers of his generation. Dean sources fruit from up and down the rich terra-rossa Barossa Valley, notably from the Old Garden Mourvedre bush vine site planted back in 1853 and the Three Corner Grenache, Rawlands Flat vineyard dating back to 1890. He has made it his life's work to propagate the next generation of these fabulously old, living monuments by grafting their buds onto 30 year old rootstock.
I have had the pleasure to enjoy a glass of wine or two with Dean over the years - looking forward to sharing many more. Each time I open one of his wines in the glass you are treated to something special, as Dean has a rare ability to be able to capture the essence of history and the magic in old vines and bottle it. His passion for wine is undeniable and his desire to share this passion is even greater.
Where and when did you study winemaking?
1984-1986 Roseworthy, South Australia
1990-1992 UC Davis, California
What is your favourite grape variety(s) to work with and why?
The Old Garden Mourvèdre (planted 1853) - humbling to work with grapes from a vineyard so old it is beyond human’s conventional thinking.
Which grape variety would you most like to work with in the future and why?
Some exotic white - haven’t found it yet!
With each new vintage what do you most look forward to?
The first grapes coming into the winery is always a time to celebrate.
To date what has been you most interesting/challenging vintage and why?
2011 - I had to make tough, hard decisions. No place for the faint-hearted.
Which person has influenced you the most as a winemaker and why?
Brian Croser - my boss for ten years. Guided me and gave me the opportunities to understand what makes great wine.
Which person ‘current’ or ‘past’ would you most like to have met or meet and why?
Assuming you mean in the wine industry it would have been really cool to have met Dom Perignon. It would have been so fascinating talking to him and watching him as he experimented with his techniques. Discussing the results would have been intriguing.
If you were stranded on a desert island and you could take one bottle of wine with you – what would it be and why?
A Sauternes - a mature Yquem. The flavours of the ripe tropical fruits I am eating would go wonderfully well with the wine.
If you could make wine anywhere else in the world – where would it be and why?
Right now I wouldn’t mind Spain. The wines and the place seem to have that rusticity and naturalness that I crave.
What advice would you give a young person starting out as a winemaker?
Travel and in particular go to your opposite World - work out why they make the wines they do.
If you weren’t a winemaker - what would you like to be and why?
Film Producer. I was accepted to do that before Wine Making but got scared at the last second.
In the future, what exciting changes can you see, or would like to see for your wines, wine styles, vineyard or winery?
Lots of things happening for us at the winery - we are well on our way to carbon neutrality for one. Also I can see an acceptance of Barossa Valley as the rightful home of Mourvèdre and blends thereof.