Ferment: The 15-minute interview – Edward Tomlinson

Edward Tomlinson, Lenton Brae, Western Australia

Edward Tomlinson

Lenton Brae was established in 1982 in the Margaret River Region of Western Australia by Edward's parents, Bruce and Jeanette Tomlinson and they are a new find for Society Buyer Sarah Knowles MW.

1. How did you first get into wine? Or when did you know that you wanted to work in the family business?

I was sitting on a bus heading back to Roseworthy (the wine uni in Oz) post my first vintage at Lenton Brae in 1992. It struck me  –  of Margaret River and our fledgling vineyard in Wilyabrup  –  ‘we can make good wine here’ and that I’d be a fool to pass up the opportunity.

2. What’s the most memorable bottle you’ve drunk?

1961 Cheval Blanc.  This was in 1995. It inspired me to import some cuttings of cabernet franc and merlot.

3. Do you swap wine with other producers? If so with whom?

Yes. Cullen kindly do ‘mates rates’ and Woodlands are quite fond of my Wilyabrup Chardonnay.

4. Your cellar is about to be flooded. What bottle would you save?

Only 1? Salon 1996 and Las Cases 2010. I’ve got two hands!

5. Who would you most like to share a bottle with?

I reckon Mark Twain would make good company with Thomas Jefferson as stand by.

6. If you could travel back in time and redo one vintage which one would it be?

My first! I’d like to repay the kindness of my employer who put up with me freezing the must chiller about 3 times.

8. If your winemaking philosophy could be described in three words what would they be?

Less is more.

9. What is your most memorable food and wine match?

Can I throw in the circumstances? An aged, off-dry chenin blanc with a mild aromatic fish curry. It was in Stellenbosch during vintage and my first time overseas. We could see Table Mountain from our verandah and I remember thinking ‘how good is this?’

10. What would be your desert-island wine?

That Salon 1996.

Or a Lenton Brae Semillon Sauvignon Blanc.

11. If you weren't a winemaker, what would you be?

A stay-at-home dad.

12. What is your favourite book or piece of music?

Book = Great Expectations.

Music = Mezzanine by Massive Attack

13. Do you have a hobby outside of wine?

That would be our vineyard!

14. If you could only work with one grape variety, what would it be and why?

Chardonnay. It covers all bases for mine. Plus I live and work in (new world) chardonnay heaven.

April 2016