Q&A with Brendan Hawker

Published on: 16th December 2020

Get to know our new Senior Winemaker, his journey and wine philosophy.

Q: How did you first uncover your passion and get your start in wine?
A: I don’t come from a wine or agricultural family, but it was always revered at our table. I’d tag along to cellar door visits when we’d have family or friends visiting from overseas and can clearly remember how the weatherman on CH9 news would always announce the start of vintage in the Adelaide Hills. My beginnings on this path were somewhat unorthodox. I originally wanted to get into medicine or dentistry but didn’t make it on my first attempt. Rather than pick up a generic science or arts degree, I took a year off and started working odd jobs. During this year I met with a career counsellor and the outcome of that process was to either go back to school or enroll in winemaking. The decision was entirely based on how interesting and diverse I believed this exciting industry to be. And it was certainly the right choice; I hit the ground running with enthusiasm and have never looked back.

“I hit the ground running with enthusiasm…”

Q: Full circle, you’re back at Yering Station! You’ve been with the team for a total of 8 non-consecutive years so far in your career. What drew you to re-join the Yering Station team?
A: Having worked at Yering Station for 8 out of the last 12 years, from a Cellar Hand up to Winemaker, I looked back on the years. They were full of wonderful memories and experiences. During that time, I had developed a deep understanding of our vineyards and a knowledge of how truly special they are. When the opportunity arose to return and lead the winery team, it was something too good to refuse.


Brendan Hawker, Senior Winemaker & James Oliver, Winemaker


Q: With the gift of perspective up your sleeve, how have you seen Yering Station and its wines evolve over the years? And the Yarra Valley region?
A: The most dramatic changes have occurred in the vineyard through both precision viticulture mapping and the threat of Phylloxera. The precision viticulture developed by Nathan Scarlett has enabled us to really hunt out and define particular areas within larger blocks that are simply better than the rest. We then harvest these parcels separately, which brings us wines that show greater depth in complexity, purity and power.

Due to the threat of Phylloxera in the Yarra Valley, we have been gradually replanting both vacant and established blocks with varieties on Phylloxera resistant rootstocks. This has provided the opportunity to recalibrate our varietal composition, and ensure the appropriate varieties are planted on well suited sites. There are new varieties now too, with Grenache and Mourvèdre cropping since 2019 and Marsanne and Roussanne coming on in 2021.

There has also been a lot of work revitalising vineyard soils, through cover crops, spreading of compost and mulch. This has introduced much needed organic matter back into the soil, increasing water and nutrient holding capacity. Some blocks are almost like different vineyards now, with less stress, healthy cropping levels and balanced vigour, all of which has raised the quality of the wine coming out the other end.

“The Yarra is also a model in cooperation…”

The region as whole has only gone from strength to strength, further cementing itself as a leader in premium Australian Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, not to mention cool-climate Shiraz and Cabernet blends. The Yarra is also a model in cooperation, not just in how it markets itself to the world, but internally in how it shares technical information and experience, with all producers striving to raise the bar each year.

Q: In your role of Senior Winemaker, how will you strive to shape the future trajectory of Yering Station’s winemaking style?
A: There is a legacy of quality here at Yering Station, specifically at top end of our range, which I intend to respect and maintain. That being said, my style of winemaking is focused on elegance and purity of fruit, so I’ll be doing my best to not get in the way of the how the vineyards express themselves, and also to find the complementary parcels needed to piece together our blends. I’ll also be working closely with Rod (Rod Harrison, Viticulturist) in the vineyard to make sure we’re on top of picking decisions that will deliver bright wines with a varietal freshness of fruit.

“There is a legacy of quality here at Yering Station… which I intend to respect and maintain.”

Q: Looking toward your first vintage at the helm of the winemaking team, what are you most excited about for V21?
A: Working with some of my favourite blocks again – namely Y28 Chardonnay, Y07 Pinot and Carr Vineyard Shiraz. I’m also looking forward to seeing some of the new plantings and clonal material that came on in 2019 & 2020.

We can’t wait to bring you more words from our winemakers as we head into Vintage 2021.

Welcoming Brendan Hawker, our new Senior Winemaker

Published on: 14th December 2020

We’re delighted to announce that Brendan Hawker has joined our long-serving winemaking team!

No stranger, Brendan has spent a great deal of time at Yering Station at different points throughout his career – totaling 8 years all up. Brendan first started with us as bright-eyed Cellar Hand and soon worked his way up to the position of Winemaker. Now, Brendan returns at the helm and ready to lead us through Vintage 2021.

We’re thrilled to have his passion, integrity-driven approach leading our team and vision. Learn more about Brendan and his journey here.

The Yering Station winemaking & viticulture team. L – R: James Oliver (Winemaker), Brendan Hawker (Senior Winemaker), Rod Harrison (Viticulturist), Garry Shotter (Assistant Winemaker & Cellar Manager), Thomas “Bucky” Mullen (Vineyard Manager). Not pictured: Darren Rathbone (CEO & Winemaker across the Rathbone Wine Group).

Our estate is open again!

Published on: 28th October 2020

We’re delighted to announce that our doors are now open. ⁠Our gardens, cellar door and restaurant have missed you all!

Wander through our beautifully manicured Michael McCoy gardens. Take in the spring sunshine, while enjoying the sights and sounds of the Yarra Valley.

Cellar Door
Visit our heritage Cellar Door for wine tastings as guided by our expert staff. Purchase our full collection of wines, as well as artisanal local produce at our Cellar Store. Walk ins are welcome. Seated tastings only.

Dine in our signature restaurant overlooking the Yarra Ranges. Choose 2 or 3 courses from our new seasonal menu by Ben Smith. Indoor and outdoor dining available. Reservations prior to visiting are essential. Place your reservation here.

Open 7 days | 10am – 5pm weekdays | 10am – 6pm weekends⁠

For more information, please call us on 03 9730 0100 or fill in our contact form.

#1 Winery in the Yarra Valley

Published on: 16th September 2020

We were thrilled to be featured in The Real Review and Good Food’s annual Top Wineries list as the #1 Yarra Valley winery.

Coming in at #10 across the nation, we are proud to represent our beautiful region and it’s magnificent cool climate wines.

Commended for our Pinot Noir and Shiraz Viognier, Huon Hooke was impressed with the caliber of our flagship wines from the 2017 vintage. 

“The Reserve Shiraz Viognier and Scarlett Pinot Noir of this year share top honours.” – Huon Hooke, The Real Review.

Read More   View The List

We’re a Top 5-Star Halliday rated winery

Published on: 16th August 2020

Awarded by the Halliday Wine Companion team in celebration of consistency of excellence measured over decades.

Our long-standing five-star winery rating endorses our endless pursuit of making great wine. Our winemaking philosophy is founded on guiding the flavours of the vineyard to the bottle, upholding authenticity at every step. Ongoing investment in precision viticulture supports this vision, allowing us to uncover micro-variations which reveal the most magnificent parcels our vineyards have to offer.

View our Halliday winery profile

Our finest. 99 points.

Published on: 16th July 2020

“A sublime wine of purity and precision, first up in the fragrances of spice and violets, and thereafter in the long, immaculately poised palate, led by small red fruits. It encapsulates the vintage, the variety and the terroir, all contributing, none (with the exception of the vintage) dominating.”

– James Halliday, Wine Companion 2020

Our 2017 Scarlett Pinot Noir is now sold out.