Custodians - The Hesketh Family
The Hesketh family assumed custodianship of Parker Coonawarra Estate in March 2013. With over fifty years’ experience in the wine industry, their philosophy is to retain John Parker’s vision for the Estate, focusing on the core elements that make Parker Estate superior. The most appropriate grape varieties and clones, grown on the right soil profile in the best locations within Coonawarra, to make the best possible wines from this exceptional growing region.
The Hesketh family believes that private aegis of Parker Estate is essential to its success, and their role is to nurture the brand and the winemaking to ensure the best possible wines are produced. Retaining the integrity of First Growth and Terra Rossa wines is integral to this philosophy, as is the development of new Coonawarra based varietals - replacing previous wines made from outside the region - restoring Parker Estate’s focus and unwavering dedication to Coonawarra.
Vineyard Management - Brett Williams
The man behind the vines – Growing up in a farming household has given Brett a very hands- on approach to grape growing. He established his first vineyard in the mid nineties; a beautiful forty hectare property only five minutes by tractor from Parker Coonawarra Estate. The Williams vineyard now acts as the main source of fruit for our Coonawarra Series Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Brett takes great pride in his work, and the meticulous attention to detail he employs in the vineyard is reflected by how immaculate it looks, but more importantly, in the top grading that his fruit achieves year after year.
Having a dedicated and fastidious manager of the Parker Abbey Vineyard, with the passion and direction to grow the highest quality fruit, means our vineyards have never looked better and will continue to produce the highest caliber Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
As the youngest son of two wine industry icons, Peter and Margaret Lehmann, Phil’s path into the Australian wine industry may have been somewhat predetermined. Initially weathering the irresistible pull of the wine industry, Phil took a detour from wine and completed an Honours Degree in Electrical Engineering at Adelaide University, intermingled with a few harvest stints with his family’s business at Peter Lehmann Wines.
The allure of a career in winemaking could only be ignored for so long, and Phil’s began with a two year international winemaking pilgrimage throughout Napa, Stellenbosch and Burgundy. It was during this time he realised wine could be far more than simply a drink, or a job, but rather an essential part of a life’s rich tapestry, weaving the seasons, culture, people and history of a region, into a greatly fulfilling life. After heading back to Australia, Phil promptly completed formal winemaking study with a graduate diploma in Oenology at the University of Adelaide.
For the next ten years, he refined his winemaking skills at Yalumba, and again in the family business, Peter Lehmann Wines, as well as with Kym Teusner at Teusner Wines. The lure of joining the Hesketh Family, who’s patriarch Robert was instrumental in the 1979 creation of Peter Lehmann Wines (originally Mastersons), and the opportunity to build on the solid winemaking foundations of Parker Estate proved compelling, and in July 2013, Phil joined Parker Coonawarra Estate as our Senior Winemaker.
James was born and raised on a farm in the Gomersal/Sheaoak Log region of the Barossa Valley, an area well populated by Lienerts thanks to James' large family.
Working to his strengths, and interests, James enrolled in a Bachelor of Science (Organic and Inorganic Chemistry) at the University of Adelaide, following high school. With winemaking as his second preference he jumped at the offer of an honours position in wine chemistry, seeing this as a valuable step in the right direction. The endless hours in a “windowless lab” confirmed to James that, regardless of his love for chemistry, the Mad Professor life was not for him! The allure of winemaking (and being outdoors) proved irresistible, and to cement this decision, James completed a Masters in Oenology in 2011 - 2012.
Amongst all this study James has still managed to fit in 14 vintages at wine regions around the world. Following his first stint at Penfolds in 2008 he has since completed vintages in New Zealand, USA and Germany, now finding himself working alongside Phil Lehmann and Charlie Ormsby as winemaker for Parker Coonawarra Estate.
Despite growing up with an active interest in wine thanks to a connoisseur family, Charlie decided to follow his strengths and study History and English at Adelaide University.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in the mid 90’s he pursued the career of a librarian before realising the demand for historians was never going to be great. His first vintage at Peter Lehmann Wines in 1998 saw him immediately hooked on the excitement and atmosphere of the cellar.
He stayed on at PLW for the following 12 years eventually becoming senior cellar hand and working closely alongside Phil Lehmann for five vintages. With his degree now well and truly ‘history’, he gave in to the industry lure and travelled over to California to work a vintage at Blackstone in Gonzales.
Still enticed by the wine making dream Charlie started up at Teusner Wines, in the Barossa, as cellar manager where he learnt extensively from a very hands on Kym Teusner; a role again in conjunction with Phil. With both Charlie and Phil sharing a synonymous view on winemaking it seemed inevitable that they would again team up; this occurred in 2014 when Charlie joined the Parker Estate family as winemaker.
Cellar Door - Kirsty Bailey & Erica Kay
Kirsty and Ec not only share the Cellar Door management duties, but they also represent the heart and soul of Parker Coonawarra Estate.
Kirsty has been with Parker for more than 12 years, and knows more about the history and workings than anyone else, including the walls. Many things and people have come and gone, but Kirsty has been the one constant that greets visitors and keeps order at the cellars year after year.
Ec has been with us since June 2010, and has a wealth of knowledge having worked in the local industry for nearly fifteen years.