It didn’t take much for Tamworth born and bred man Richard Done to find his passion, although it has taken plenty of hard slog for him to grab it. Now he is well on his way to becoming one of the countries best winemakers, and I think we can all salute to that.
Update: Since this story was written Richard has taken on a new role as Chief Winemaker at the internationally acclaimed Bimbadgen Estate.
A Tamworth man is making his mark on the Hunter Valley wine industry after drinking in all the experience he could from two of the country’s leading producers.
After realising exactly where his passion lay whilst studying a bachelor of business in hospitality management, Richard Done went overseas for a few years before packing up and moving to the Hunter Valley to pursue a passion and a career.
After cutting his teeth under the tutelage of Hunter Valley legend Ian Scarborough at Scarborough Wines, Mr Done then studied under the detail oriented Andrew Thomas, of Thomas Wines, before taking on the lead role himself at Hunters Dream Estate near Rothbury.
“Ian (Scarborough) taught me the art of growing grapes and winemaking, from production through to bottling, and how to translate all of that into a business and sales,” Mr Done said.
Turning raw materials into a bottle of wine that people can enjoy with family and friends is a great experience – it is powerful and really rewarding.”Richard Done
“Then Andrew’s (Thomas) no compromise attention to detail approach was contagious, it is something I still believe in and practice. I have been very fortunate to work under both - I learnt a lot about myself and about how I wanted to make wine.”
Much like the product he pours his life into, it seems the winemaker is getting better with age, and that is exactly what he hoped for when the journey began some 15 years ago.
In 2015 Mr Done was the Alisdair Sutherland Scholarship winner for up and coming wine show judge, as well as a finalist in both the Hunter Valley Rising Star, and Young Gun of Wine awards.
“I love the romanticism of wine,” Mr Done said.
“Turning raw materials into a bottle of wine that people can sit around and enjoy with family and friends is a great experience – it is powerful and really rewarding.”
While his career goal remains unchanged, the winemakers next big challenge might take even longer to mature, as he and partner Beth prepare to welcome their first baby into the world.
“I have always only wanted to be well respected by my fellow wine industry peers, but I also want to set a benchmark for certain wine types in Australia, and to be able to pass on the things that I have been taught, and learnt, to the next generation.”