Meet James Tilbrook
An interview with James Tilbrook ...
How long have you been making wine?
I've had my own label, Tilbrook Estate, since 2001. I have been doing vintage work since 1997. I have worked in the Barossa, where it was impressed on me that good grapes make good wine, and in Oregon, USA, then in the biggest winery in northern Tasmania, Pipers Brook. Because of wines I tasted at Oddbins in the UK, I searched for land to plant vines at High Eden (Valley). Whilst at Pipers Brook I learnt that High Eden would be too warm for Pinot Noir and the Adelaide Hills was recommended to me by the eminent English wine writer, Hugh Johnson. I had also tasted very good Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Lenswood when I was at Oddbins so I decided if it was going to be the Adelaide Hills then it must be Lenswood. I therefore bought 50 acres of pasture in the region in 1998.
How did you get into the industry?
At school, I dreamed of being a farmer and so went to Agriculture College for further studies. I was involved in a car accident as an exchange student in Australia, in which I broke my neck, and I returned to the United Kingdom and began working for a wine merchant, Oddbins. There I became passionate about wine and the culture and my palate was educated.
Which wine are you proudest of?
My Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and late harvest Pinot Gris.
Which is your most popular wine?
Why do you think people like it?
It's easy drinking, non-woody and very fashionable!
From where do you source your fruit?
My fruit is exclusively from the Adelaide Hills Wine Region, with the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir exclusively from my vineyard. I also grow Sauv Blanc and Pinot Gris but not enough of it to fulfil demand so I buy more in. The Adelaide Hills is an amazing region in that it can ripen everything from the most elegant sparkling wine grapes to concentrated Cabernets and Shirazes. This is due to diverse microclimates, soils and aspects from the cool, lush, steep slopes around Piccadilly and Lenswood to the warmer and drier areas to the south, north and east. However, I do also make a regional blend red as an entry level wine.
The next big thing in wine is Chardonnay over $30 a bottle. In Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane wine drinkers are now seeking Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.What is the next big thing in wine?
Describe your biggest market for your wine.
My customers tend to be in the 35 to 55 year age bracket.
Do your premises have a winery dog?
Pippa, is an English Springer Spaniel, a tradition of my family in the UK.
When is the winery open for tastings?
The winery is open Friday to Sunday and public holidays from 11am to 5pm.
Building 17/1 Adelaide Lobethal Road, Old Woollen Mill, Lobethal. Ph 08 8389 5318.
Does it have a website for online purchases?
You can buy our wines online through this link:
Also you can look us up on Facebook and keep in touch with what's happening or check out our website at tilbrookestate.com.au