Marc van Halderen, winemaker at Yalumba Winery had conflicting dreams as a child, but has ended up making a new home in Australia with his wife Carolyn and 2 ‘well-travelled cats’
We caught up with Marc in the cellar ahead of our Tasting Australia event, Masters Apprentices on May 2 to chat about how he made his way to Barossa from South Africa and his hopes for the region’s future.
I was born and raised in South Africa, receiving a Diploma with Honours in Winemaking and Cellar Technology from Elsenburg Winemaking College in Stellenbosch. My early career was marked with vintages in Constantia and Walker Bay, South Africa, where my affinity for purity and elegance in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Shiraz and Bottle Fermented Sparkling Wines began.
After a chance meeting with an Australian I took the opportunity to emigrate further afield to Australia. This vintage position at Yalumba turned to a full time role, working with Louisa Rose, Teresa Heuzenroder and Andrew La Nauze.
Did 10-year-old Marc want to be a winemaker?
No… I wanted to be an accountant or a rockstar – I know, I know!
Once you made the decision away from these options, who was influential in your developing winemaking career?
Lofty Ellis, Wine College Lecturer and John Loubster, Cape Town Winemaker who taught me “with wine and vines address issues as they come up, don’t wait for better outcomes, grapes and wine can be unforgiving. Yes and No are full sentences.” Importantly, and probably disappointingly to my 10-year-old self; “if you want to be flash and famous, go and do something else.
Can you describe a pivotal career moment?
Working in hospitality, visiting wineries and vineyards for work, later on taking an overseas holiday to Bali and having a weird feverish dream from Bali Belly… I’ll explain
*Editor’s note: we’re still waiting on this explanation! Maybe we can get this out of him at the Masters Apprentices event?
What’s your vision for Barossa’s future?
To continue to build on Brand Barossa, to consolidate Barossa Valley and Eden Valley as the pre-eminent wine region of Australian wine, a force to be reckoned with. There is discovery and reward in history and innovation, whites in Eden Valley and Reds from the valley floor and Eden Valley. Not being pigeon holed to Shiraz, there’s Riesling, Chardonnay, Viognier, Grenache, Cabernet and newcomers too. To build on our culture of must-see tourism, delicious food, family, fun, sophistication, diversity while always being accessible.
You can catch Marc 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