Wine voices: Virginia Willcock, Chief Wine Maker at Vasse Felix

“Relief number one is when the grapes are off the vine and I’m like oh I don’t have to eat grapes for another year.

Tasting fruit every day, trying to get the flavours right can be pretty torturous. This is probably the most stressful time I’m going through; trying to get the reds off skins at the right time and bedded down into the right barrels. Coming into vintage, not knowing what the season’s going to be like, is the most nerve racking time of year. But I need to be nervous to perform.

Every year I get butterflies, like it was my first vintage ever. How’s the fruit behaving? Is it different to other years we’ve seen? And how is it different? And how should I react to that? Should I leave it on the vine longer, pick it a bit earlier? What’s happening with the acids, the sugars, the flavours? Everything’s changing and it’s different every year. It’s kind of like coming into a new experience every single year and that is petrifying.”

Virginia Willcock – Chief Winemaker, Vasse Felix

Image: Sarah Hewer

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Max Brearley

Author Max Brearley

Max Brearley is a food writer, critic, consultant and host working with The Australian, The Guardian, Halliday, Margaret River Gourmet Escape, Truffle Kerfuffle, Conde Nast Traveller and delicious. to name just a few. A passion for a good yarn and great produce has seen him forage for native foods in the north west of WA, follow abalone from ocean to plate in the south west and dig for black truffles in the towering Southern Forests. He’s also been known to cast a critical eye over a meal or two for The Australian’s annual Hot 50 Restaurants and delicous., as well as producing written, visual and event content for organisations across Australia and globally. Whilst a proud Yorkshireman; he’s been moving south for much of his life. Relocating from London to Perth in 2012, a move to the southwest soon followed, where life girt by sea and vines is more than agreeable. Instagram: @max_brearley / Twitter: @maxbrearley / Web:

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