Jamsheed’s proprietor and wine maker Gary Mills, was born in Western Australia and, like many of our new Aussie producers, gained exposure to fine wine through his enthusiastic parents. His step-mother was the owner of a considerable wine cellar of both Australian and international wines, so understanding what good wine was came early. A graduate of Literature and Japanese speaker, early jobs were far removed from wine making. Disgruntled with his latest job as a tour guide for Japanese tourists in Queensland, Gary was struck that whatever he did in the future it must include wine.
A contract job in winemaking at Ridge Vineyards, California came his way and his talent turned a five week placement in to a two year stint working closely with Paul Draper. After some time in Oregon and upon returning to Australia, Gary was intrigued with the spice and perfume of Victorian Syrah and forewent the chance to return to his home state but rather set up in the Yarra Valley working with contracted grapes.
In 2003 the output for the first vintage was 120 cases of Syrah and Gewürztraminer. Sites with old vines planted in sympathetic soils have been difficult to find and when they do there is work in getting his hands on the produce. Now sourcing fruit from the Yarra Valley, Great Western, Beechworth (the Warner Vineyard), Moonambel, Mornington Peninsula and the Victorian Pyrenees, production has grown to over 7000 cases but quantities are limited so he can still undertake 100% of the winemaking.
Jamsheed was the grandfather of wine making, the Persian Prince cited in ancient writings, who observed the transformation of grapes to wine through the happy accident of inadequate protection from the environment. It’s an ancient reference, but to us, the wines represent the new wave of cooler climate production in Australia. Pure, expressive and unencumbered wines showing that adaptability in Australian wine making might be its biggest asset.