Tell us about yourself and how you got into the wine making industry
I was born half way through the last century and grew up in the grape growing district of Mildura, and hated picking sultana grapes in the heat and dust of a Mildura summer! I qualified as a Pharmacist a lifetime ago and eventually ended owning a pharmacy in Castlemaine. However, before Castlemaine, I worked and lived in Bendigo, where, over many glasses of wine with the next door neighbour, Ken Pollock - who would become a founding partner in the winery - a plan was hatched to plant a vineyard and make wine. To that end Ken and I, in 1984, enrolled in the Graduate Diploma Course at Roseworthy Agricultural College in South Australia, which gave us enough knowledge to know when ”we didn’t know what we were talking about”, and access to a great network of people who might. In 1987, after around 18 months of searching, we purchased a property at Harcourt which was to become Blackjack Vineyards. The first vines were planted in 1988 and the first wine was released six years later in 1994.