Jeremy Muller long dreamed of escaping the corporate world and launching a family-run vineyard. He did just that north of Margaret River in Yallingup, Western Australia, a region with a Mediterranean-style climate known for producing particularly sublime Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. We talk with the man behind Peccavi Wines about his journey amongst the vines.
How did you get into winemaking?
Bought a vineyard, panicked, then signed up for a course at UC Davis, along with hiring the best consultant I could find.
Peccavi is Latin for “I have sinned”. How did you decide on this as a name for your vineyard?
It was so difficult finding the right name as I was looking for something a little cheeky that wouldn’t cheapen the brand. It was then I remembered a perfect story from history class at school about the famous British general Charles Napier, and I thought Peccavi would be perfect – especially when added to “No Regrets” as a second label.
What makes it unique amongst the other vineyards in the Margaret River area?
We have one of the highest elevations in Margaret River, some of the best soils and many different aspects, which lend to greater complexity in the wines.
How would you classify your winemaking style?
Hands off, with as little intervention as possible – let the vineyard do the talking.
Can you tell us about some of the techniques you use?
Making high-end wine the traditional way is about patience and not cutting corners. I think people would be surprised to learn that we are up every six hours to hand-plunge the wines. And every time between getting ready, plunging and then cleaning, the process takes about two hours, which means that for about a month a year, the most sleep I’d ever get in one go is four hours.
What do you think are some for the biggest challenges facing the wine industry right now?
Succession planning. I keep hearing how so many of the younger generations don’t want to get into farming, and I’m already trying to find ways to keep my boys interested.
What do the wines mean to you personally?
Personally, they are the culmination of a multi-year quest, having left a particularly aggressive industry where everything was measured in dollars and cents to then find a way to produce something tangible. In addition, there is nothing better than seeing a stranger enjoying a wine I’ve actually made myself.
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