Michael’s introduction to wine was working his first job at a wine auctioneers in Perth.
Over the months of cataloguing and packing bottles, Michael developed a curiosity and passion for all different kinds of wine and how they were made.
Michael pursued this interest and set out to gain formal qualifications in Winemaking at Curtin University in Margaret River, while working as a cellar hand for a local winery. Michael’s love for wine and travel has led him to visit and work in numerous wine regions, including Burgundy, Champagne, Oregon, Napa and Central Otago.
Over the years, through his high level of attention to detail and stringent quality focus, Michael has crafted many award-winning wines from various wine regions, for celebrated brands such as Devil’s Lair, Stella Bella and Wolf Blass.
As the senior winemaker of Knappstein winery, Michael is proud to be leading the winemaking team in the pursuit of creating top quality premium wines that represent the true expression of the variety and regional influences. As the custodian of some of the best vineyards in the region, Michael is determined to amplify the company’s reputation as one of Australia’s leading premium wine brands.
Michael loves his job and claims that three things make it so: the people – he’s met some interesting characters working in the wine industry; the diversity when working with wine – no day is the same; and Vintage – which he maintains is the most exciting, busy and strenuous time of the year, but nonetheless, the reason he keeps coming back.
James was appointed Vineyard Manager for Knappstein Wines in July 2017 as part of an expanded role within the business. He now oversees the management of 160ha of premium vineyards for the Knappstein, Leasingham and Petaluma brands in the stunning Clare Valley.
James' destiny really began in the early 1920s when two of his great grandfathers began planting vineyards in the Riverland. From a very early age he lived and worked on the family vineyards. As a fourth generation wine grape grower, his family's passion for the land and growing grapes has now spanned nearly 100 years.
After graduating from Adelaide University with a degree in Economics and Agribusiness, James spent the next few years moving around the country gaining knowledge in various wine growing regions including the Riverland, Margaret River and Langhorne Creek, before finally settling down in the Clare Valley.
Since taking the role of Vineyard Manager for Leasingham Wines in 2007, James has continued to develop his knowledge of the region and hone his skills as a viticulturist. He and wife Alice are happy to call Clare home and together with their two young girls look forward to many more years in the region.
In his spare time, James enjoys spending time with his family, working on his property, riding motorbikes and tending to his livestock… but mainly riding motorbikes!
Mike was formerly the Group Red Winemaker at Southcorp Wine Group, where he was responsible for making all Penfold’s red wines, including Grange and St. Henri, Lindemans, Seppelts and Wynns. During this tenure he won at least one trophy at every capital city wine show every year and has won the coveted Jimmy Watson trophy for best young red wine, not just once, but twice!
Mike has over 40 years of industry experience and believes that some of the best wines in the country are being made from the Clare Valley. Mike is proud to be an important part of the Knappstein brand and is excited to see the traditions and quality of the wines continued. He can’t wait to see what the future holds for this pioneering wine brand, knowing that it is firmly in good hands.