I founded Loxton Cellars in 1996 to specialize in the limited production of ultra-premium Syrah wines. Being Australian by birth, a country where the dominant red wine grape is Syrah (or Shiraz as Australians would say) and with both my father and grandfather growing Syrah, along with other Rhone varieties, Syrah was a natural focus. With California becoming an adopted home, it was a natural extension to also produce limited quantities of California’s “native” grape, Zinfandel. Indeed, both are favorite wines to drink. Each produces wines of character and pleasure, both being rediscovered in the last decade in their respective adopted lands, and both produce wines that vary widely depending upon the vineyard in which they are grown.
Despite a background involving family vineyards in South Australia, I came to the U.S. not through my interest in wine, but with a doctoral degree in Physics and the intention of working for a year before returning to Adelaide to learn winemaking. One year soon became ten, with brief sojourns at Penn State and Arizona State, then almost eight years at the University of Illinois, before leaving academia to follow a long held passion for winemaking. Following a year of study at UC Davis and harvests in California (Quivira in ‘92 and ‘93, Sonoma-Cutrer in ’94) and Australia (St. Hallett in the Barossa in ‘93) I joined Peter Wellington at Wellington Vineyards as Assistant Winemaker in January 1995, becoming co-winemaker with Peter after the harvest of 1997. In the summer of 2001, I left there to concentrate my efforts on Loxton Cellars.