"He’s in the same league as Max Schubert and other great winemakers, most of whom are known for their reds."
Vickery Wines is the culmination of John Vickery's half-century of winemaking experience, partnered alongside family friend and talented winemaker Phil Lehmann. Together they create Rieslings that showcase John's extensive expertise with the most noble of white wine varieties.
It begins in the regions where John made his mark. Eden Valley in the Barossa and Watervale in the Clare Valley. It goes further into the sub-districts of these regions that John knows intimately, and partnering with growers who have the right vineyards in the right locations to produce the best possible fruit. Once fruit is picked at optimum ripeness, Phil and John employ the winemaking techniques that he has refined and perfected over time, to craft Rieslings that carry his signature style and fastidious quality standards.
The Vickery label is in effect, a time capsule for John's wealth of winemaking knowledge. It allows his experience and winemaking techniques to be used without compromise, and then passed on to current and future generations of Riesling winemakers.
John Vickery has been instrumental in shaping the history of Riesling in Australia. Working his first vintage back in 1951, John Vickery built his illustrious career around strict attention to detail and old-fashioned hard work. His fastidious nature and particular ways are legendary and an integral part of the greatness.
His mastery began with Leo Buring in 1955 at Chateau Leonay winery, where the focus was on Eden Valley and Watervale fruit. Without any modern day processing equipment winemaking was quite a crude process, which shows true testament to his outstanding ability. Vickery’s hallmark approaches were cool fermentation and careful handling, so it was in the latter years with the introduction of refrigeration and air bag presses, that John was best able to capture the Riesling grape’s fine delicate flavours.
With more than fifty Trophies and an incredible four hundred Gold Medals (and a Jimmy Watson for good measure) John Vickery is recognized as an inspiration and benchmark for many young (and old) winemakers. Highlights of his career include winning the 2007 Wolf Blass Riesling Award at the Canberra International Riesling challenge. He was humbled to be judged by his peers as Australia’s Greatest Living Winemaker in a survey conducted by Epicure in 2003. But he considers his most rewarding contribution to the Australian Wine Industry, being the first to re-introduce the screw cap with the 1998 Richmond Grove Watervale and Barossa Rieslings. This was by any measure, the single most significant event in the improvement in quality of Australian Riesling.
In 2007 John was awarded the Medal of Order of Australia for 'service to the wine industry as an oenologist, particularly through the development of innovative methods for Riesling production.'
As the youngest son of two wine industry icons, Peter and Margaret Lehmann, Phil's path into the Australian wine industry may have been somewhat predetermined. Initially weathering the irresistible pull of the industry, Phil took a detour from wine and completed an Honours Degree in Electrical Engineering at Adelaide University, intermingled with a few harvest stints with his family's business at Peter Lehmann Wines.
The allure of a career in winemaking could only be ignored for so long, and Phil began a two year international pilgrimage throughout Napa, Stellenbosch and Burgundy. It was during this time he realised wine could be far more than simply a drink, or a job, but rather an essential part of a life's rich tapestry, weaving the seasons, culture, people and history of a region, into a greatly fulfilling life. After heading back to Australia, Phil promptly completed formal winemaking study with a graduate diploma in Oenology at the University of Adelaide.
Phil is not only John's protégée for Vickery wines, but is also happens to be the son of John's greatest friend and most respected wine maker, Peter Lehmann. Their shared history is the beauty of this partnership – Phil, like John, understands the vital importance of fruit quality and depth of flavour to make great Riesling, and revels in the opportunity to learn from Australia's greatest Riesling winemaker.