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Our Winemakers

Malcom Burdett

In June 2005 Lerida Estate recruited a new full time winemaker - Malcolm Burdett.

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Malcolm Burdett grew up in Cromer (Norfolk), England. He trained as a chef and worked in several restaurants and hotels in Norfolk and London.

His extensive travels brought him to Australia in 1985. He met his wife while holidaying in Queensland and settled in Melbourne, continuing to work in the restaurant industry and visiting wineries at weekends.

A trip to the winery at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga Wagga changed the direction of his professional life, and while working at Moorfield Vintners in North Melbourne, he commenced studying part time for his Bachelor of Applied Science (Wine Science) at CSU in 1990.

Over the next 7 years Malcolm gained extensive winemaking experience, working vintages at Tisdall Wines, Tatachilla, Mildara (Coonawarra), Tahbilk, St Huberts and Corbans (Gisborne, New Zealand - Assistant Winemaker for the 1996 Vintage), as well as stints at Tucks Ridge and Yellowglen, taking the opportunity to learn from some highly talented winemakers.

Malcolm graduated from Charles Sturt University in 1997, and in the same year, moved to the Canberra district as Winemaker at Doonkuna Estate, Murrumbateman. During his 8 years at Doonkuna he introduced Sparkling Pinot Noir/Chardonnay, Late Harvest Riesling and Rose styles to their range, and enjoyed show success, winning 3 trophies (including Champion Wine of Show, Canberra Regional Wine Show) for his 1998 Shiraz, a trophy for his 1997 Sparkling Pinot Noir/Chardonnay (NSW Wine Awards) and a trophy for his 2003 Riesling (National Riesling Challenge) in addition to numerous gold medals for Chardonnay, Shiraz, Riesling and Sparkling Pinot Noir/Chardonnay.

Malcolm has continued his winning ways with wines since he arrived at Lerida Estate. As at November 2015, the wines Malcolm has made have been awarded 14 Trophies and over 530 medals (or equivalent ratings). Significant achievements include:

  • the Lerida Estate 2006 Shiraz Viognier winning  trophies for Best Red Wine, Best Shiraz and Champion Wine of the Show at the 2007 Canberra District Wine Show;
  • the 2008 Botrytis Pinot Gris winning the Champion Sweet Wine at the National Cool Climate Wine Show 2009, a Trophy for Best Sweet Wine at the  NSW Wine Awards 2009 and a Trophy at the International Sweet Wine Challenge 2009;
  • the 2009 Shiraz Viognier winning a Trophy at the 2012 International Wine Challenge, London, a Gold medal and & Top of Class at the 2011 National Wine Show and the ‘Outstanding & Best  2009 Shiraz’ in the  2012 Winewise Championship; and the 2013 Shiraz Viognier winning Chair of Judge’s Trophy for an ‘exceptional wine’, Dan Murphy’s 2014 National Wine Show and a Trophy at the 2015 International Wine Challenge, London, where the judges referred to the wine as ‘a benchmark wine’.

The French Connection

In 2002, we experimented with an arrangement that worked so well that we have decided to continue it every year. A young French masters' graduate usually from Montpellier University (one of the world's great wine making academies) work at Lerida during the vintage to assist with all the additional work that needs to be done, and to share ideas they have about winery and viticulture practices derived from their university studies and often, their family wineries.

Yoann Malandain

Yoann Malandain arrived from France in February 2002, and stayed until May. He brought a meticulous approach to wine making, and spent the first two weeks having the whole winery scrubbed from top to bottom. We thought that we had cut yields as far as we needed to obtain high quality, Yoann persuaded us to halve it again. He has brought so many good ideas and different approaches from France, that we intend to maintain the French Connection indefinitely.

Alain Renou

In February 2003 Alain Renou arrived to assist with the 2003 vintage. Alain was also a graduate from Montpellier. He took to Australian life with great gusto. Before starting work he visited Fyshwick - to buy Redback boots and Hard Yakka clothes. He was determined to be properly equipped for work at an Australian winery. Over the next several months Alain worked tirelessly in the winery preparing for the vintage and assisting our winemaker with the painstaking process of making the 2003 wines.

Alain's great contribution to wine technology at Lerida was 'the sock'. The practice in large wineries in Australia is to have a 'must filter'. This $11,000 device separates the clear liquid from the cloudy fractions producing a wine that is fragrant and fruity without the harsh phenolics from the cloudy parts. Alain pointed out that in Alsace (his home region) fancy must filters are never used. Instead, a piece of fabric sewn into a conical shape, or even an old sock (presumably washed!) is used. After several late night phone calls to his former employer in Alsace and his mother, Alain produced the 'Lerida sock' which was used in our 2004 Pinot Gris.

Charles Vivet

Charles Vivet joined us for the 2005 vintage at Lerida Estate. Charles was from Paris (lucky guy!) but he is also a graduate of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure Agronomique de Montpellier (Oenologie) having just completed his Master of Science degree in Vine Growing and Winemaking. Charles had also recently completed some practical training in the Côtes du Rhône and for Domaine du Cléray.

Charles did a sterling job. The day he arrived from a Paris winter it was 38°C in Canberra. We picked him up from the airport and he spent the day putting out the nets. He was a little fatigued at the end of that day!

Charles made our first Rosé from Pinot Noir grapes grown at Lerida. The wine has been a great success for us and has helped a number of people overcome their aversion to Rose-based on some pretty nasty staff that was around a few years ago.

Charles also liked Sydney - especially the Coogee Bay Backpackers hostel. Charles is spending this vintage in New Zealand.

Sylvain Pabion

Sylvain, also a graduate of Montpellier but in Viticulture, arrives in Canberra on 16 February 2006. Sylvain has studied the terroir in the Rhone Valley and Bordeaux - so we will be very keen to pick his brains on the issue of the Lake George 'terroir'. He has also studied ageing Shiraz in oak barrels. Now there's a topic a lot of Australian winemakers are quite interested in. We should have quite an interesting vintage.

Sylvain is also going to conduct a tasting of the Lerida wines at our winery on 31 March for people who are attending 'Beau Soir' - an evening of French-inspired wine, food and song (see Events).

Julien Montagne

Julien is our assistant winemaker for the 2007 vintage. Julien comes from Maury in France and is also a graduate in viticulture and oenology from the University of Montpelier. He arrives in Canberra on 10 February 2007 and will live in a cottage in Collector. He has experience in making Rosé wines - which is useful because Lerida is aiming to make the best Rosé in Australia!

Vincent Demilly

Vincent joined us for the 2008 vintage from Rue du chateau in Champagne. His studies included an undergraduate diploma in viticulture and enology, a French enologist diploma, and masters in wine marketing and management. As well as his excellent accademic achievements, Vincent's parents are winegrowers on an eighteen-acre property in Champagne and he is keen to continue on the family business.Because of his experties in making Champagne, Lerida gained some inside knowledge to assist in producing our sprakling wine made using the champayne method.

Vivien Roussignol

Vivien comes from Saint-Chinian, a little village in Languedoc near Montpellier. His grandfather was a wine-grower in Saint-Chinian and he made his own wine until Vivien was nine.His parents inherited the vineyard when his grandfather stop working. As his parents both worked as teachers, they did not continue making wine, but they still grow the vines, harvest them and bring the grapes to a local cooperative. His uncle also own a vineyard in Saint-Chinian, and makes his own wine.

Vivien studied to be a winemaker at the Montpellier National Institute of Agronomy ( Montpellier SupAgro). During his 3 years there, he did two internships. One in Saint-Georges d'Orques to assist in the 2007 vintage in Domaine de la Prose winery. This was an organic vineyard and winery. He did his second internship in Alsace in an oenology lab where he worked for several months on the greenhouse gas emissions of wineries.

Vivien was interested in doing a vintage in Australia because one is able to make quite a number of varieties of wine in only one winery - unlike in France. As well, the Canberra District and Lerida Estate are well known for their shiraz (and shiraz-viognier) wines which is a wll developed variety in Languedoc where Vivien plans to work when he returns to France.

Lorena Cepeda, 2010 Vintage

Faye Willmann-Donlea, 2011 Vintage

Lucie Bouvier - Lerida Estate WinesLucie Bouvier, 2012 Vintage

Lucie who comes from the South of France, was recommended to us by Yoann Malandain who had worked with us for the 2002 vintage. Yoann was a young winemaker at the time, but a very good one and he did a fantastic job for us for the 2002 vintage. He was such an exceptional person that he inspired us to look for a French assistant winemaker each year.

When Yoann (now winemaker at Chateau Fonvert in Lourmain) recommended Lucie to assist with the 2012 vintage, we were delighted to accept his recommendation. And we were very glad we did. While Lucie had not yet finished her formal winemaker training, she worked exceptionally hard, picked up very quickly what had to be done and carried out all the winemaking tasks extremely well. Lucie had never been on a plane before she flew to Sydney. Quite an amazing girl. We hope she is able to come back one day to assist us with another vintage.

Matteo Barbacci - 2013 Vintage

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Matteo Barbacci commenced work at Lerida Estate on Monday 11 February as our assistant winemaker for the 2013 vintage.

Matteo comes from Chianti (about 20 kms from Florence) and has been working in the family wine and olive oil business in Chianti for a number of years, and most recently has been working as a vineyard manager with another Chianti vineyard/winery. He is also a volunteer fire fighter in the Florence Fire Department (very useful experience for an Australian summer).

Matteo was with us for approximately 3 months, and in that time worked his Italian charm on all of us, so that we really will miss him. It does however give us a great excuse to visit Italy again sometime soon!

Sara Concetta d'AmbraLucie Bouvier & Sara Concetta d'Ambra - 2014 Vintage

Sara Concetta d'Ambra - 2015 Vintage