Meet the Winemaker-Alister Purbrick

August 08, 2018
Meet the Winemaker-Alister Purbrick

Meet Alister Purbrick, CEO at Tahbilk Winery and Vineyard (Winner of the James Halliday Wine Companion "2016 Winery of the Year”). Alister is a fourth generation of the Purbrick family who have managed the winery since 1925 and he shares with us the three most important things he learnt from his father, how he became a winemaker and his secret to raising children.


How would you like to celebrate your ideal Fathers Day ?

With my wife, son, daughter and her children and my children's partners.

If you had to pick one wine that aligns perfectly with Father’s Day, what would it be and why?

I would make it a Fathers Day lunch on the 2nd September 2018 and couldn't go past a bottle of Tahbilk 1927 Vines Marsanne- a perfect Spring wine

Whats the weirdest Fathers Day gift you have ever been given?

A voucher for stunt driving lessons at Calder Raceway on Sunday 26th August 2018....the weekend before Fathers Day.....maybe the family don't want me around anymore!!!!

What's the greatest hope you have for the future as a Father and a winemaker?

As a father- that my children and grandchildren have happy fulfilling lives and achieve their collective dreams. As a winemaker- that Tahbilk continues to produce wines that surprise and delight wine consumers around the world.

What was the 3 most important things your learnt from your Father?

A love of wine, a love of great food, the importance of a solid work ethic and passion for the work that you do and to always respect people for what they have achieved in it small or large achievements. My father and grandfather also instilled in me the responsibility of leaving a legacy for future generations and leaving Tahbilk in a better space than when I took over management of the operation.

What is your secret to raising children?

Set up a structured environment from day one, and instil the values of respect, accountability, integrity, effort versus reward, listen to what they have to say, be present and attentive and give them credit when credit is due. Do what you say you're going to do, be consistent in your behaviours, actions and words and above all.....enjoy their company, laugh a lot and have fun together.

How did you become a winemaker ? What influenced your decision ?

I had intentions of becoming a politician just like my great grand father Reginald but, at the family Xmas lunch in December 1971 after I had just finished matriculation/year 12, my grandfather asked me what course I was going to do at university. I hadn't thought too much about this and was taken aback by the question. Thinking quickly on my feet I replied that I had decided to become a winemaker...the first fully qualified winemaker in my family. As you can imagine, everyone was delighted with my response but of course I had no such plans in place. After we had finished lunch and returned home I sidled up to my father and confessed that I had no idea how you became a winemaker. He sat me down and confirmed that he had made an appointment some time ago for me to have an interview in January 1972 with the Roseworthy College authorities with a view to having me accepted into the winemaking course the same year. I did the interview, was accepted for the oenology course which started in a month and the rest is history as they say.

If you could pick 3 people to host a wine dinner with , who would they be and why?

No one in particular, but whomever was chosen would have to have a great sense of humour.

If you had to pick one wine to drink before you die, what would it be and why ?

No particular wine but it would have to be very old and a great example of its pedigree.....and of course it would have to be served with a dish worth dying for.

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