As vintage comes to a (slow) end, we took 5 minutes out to find out a little more about Alex MacClelland, Chair of the Barossa Wine Show Committee and Winemaker, Bethany Wines ahead of the Masters Apprentices event on Sunday 2 May.
Alex, were your childhood dreams about making wine in Barossa? What would 10-year-old Alex think of you now?
Growing up in London meant winemaking was never on my horizon as a career. I had much more achievable dreams such as fighter pilot, lawyer (Judge actually – natch!), architect. The path to wine from corporate marketing was circuitous but highly enjoyable. It’s cost me a fortune in lost income (especially if that judge thing had worked out!) but I have never once looked back.
What made you take the leap into winemaking?
Standing in Devine Food & Wine in Kent Street, Sydney, banging on to my best mate, and wine appreciation buddy, about why the Paul Jaboulet Syrah we were drinking was so exciting. As his eyes glazed over I realised I needed a new avenue for my passion!!
Who has been a mentor to you?
John Belsham, when I asked questions he would encourage me to work things out practically, saying “I’m not sure, try it and see.”
I’m sure you’ve had a few career highlights (winning Wine of Show at the 2017 Barossa Wine Show has to be up there…) what stands out for you?
TBA! Awards are wonderful and exciting but until I’ve made the ‘best’ wine in my mind I won’t be satisfied. May never happen, it’s the search that’s the highlight.
What does the future of Barossa look like to you?
We are lucky here. The stability and reknown of the region gives us a great history and reputation to work from. That doesn’t mean we have to do what has been done before, we can build and move forward and challenge where needed to continue to keep Barossa relevant, sought after, and delicious!
You can catch Alex as part of the winemaking team at Masters Apprentices, a Tasting Australia event Sunday 2 May 2021.
Yesterday’s apprentices > Today’s mentors > Tomorrow’s masters.
5 courses + 10 wines delivered through the eyes of 6 chefs + 10 winemakers destined to make their mark, leading the next generation of Barosssa food and wine.
Tickets $155pp – tastingaustralia.com.au