Legendary Australian winemaker John Vickery – long referred to as ‘Australia’s father of Riesling’ – passed away on Saturday.
In a statement, Keeda Zilm, winemaker and custodian of Vickery Riesing said: “We are deeply saddened to advise of John Vickery’s passing on Saturday 23 September.
“It is with great pride that we continue his legacy, sharing his story with wine and Riesling lovers across the country and around the world.”
John was universally recognised as one of Australia’s greatest-ever winemakers.
In 2007 he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the wine industry as an oenologist, particularly through the development of innovative methods for Riesling production.
His long list of achievements includes reintroducing the screwcap on the 1998 Richmond Grove Watervale and Barossa Rieslings.
John won the Jimmy Watson Trophy in 1981 for the Lindemans 1980 St George Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.
Jeffrey Grosset once said, “He’s in the same league as Max Schubert and other great winemakers, most of whom are known for their reds.”
As someone once said, “John Vickery is to Riesling what Max Schubert was to Shiraz.”
Vickery Riesling is part of The Usual Suspects Collective.
Keeda said, “We have had an overwhelming display of support from the growers in Clare and Eden Valley over the last few years who either knew, or in some instances, worked with John in his early career and have chosen to celebrate their relationship by joining us on this Vickery journey.
“We will continue to nurture the community of growers and show unwavering commitment to John Vickery’s famous winemaking methods.
“The launch of the tenth vintage of Vickery Riesling this year now feels even more special, and we hope everyone will stop and think of John’s contribution when enjoying a glass of Riesling this summer and celebrate the wonderful and full life he lived.”
John is survived by his wife Mary and children Richard, Robert, Emily, Annabel and William.
“His family has asked for privacy during this time,” Keeda said.
Photo: Ben Macmahon.
Further reading: Wine Ten Questions.