Interview With A Winemaker – Peter Macauley

11th August 2023

Interview With A Winemaker - Peter Macauley

Wine isn’t just made, it’s crafted by the unwavering expertise of a Winemaker, sometimes old traditions are passed down by generations and on other occasions, new people venture into the industry, introducing us to new creations, this series of Winemaker Interviews will help you uncover the vast world and skills of how the artists passionate about wine make the world a bubbly place.

In this feature we speak with Peter Macauley, an amazing Winemaker from England, let’s discover a little about his time in the English Wine Industry.

Tell Us About Yourself

“It took me moving halfway across the world to find out England actually made wine. I’m originally from Lancashire, up north so it wasn’t exactly the area for it. I’ve spent most of the past 6 years working as a ‘flying winemaker’, nipping around hemispheres here and there. I’ve been very fortunate to work in lots of wine regions across countries such as New Zealand, Australia, America, South Africa and France. Covid put a stop to that lifestyle and to be honest it’s worked out very well. Staying put in the UK for the past two and half years has been fantastic, I count myself very lucky to be part of the most exciting period of English Sparkling Wine. Whilst my major passion is sparkling wine, I have a huge love for cold climate red varietals, like Pinot Noir, Gamay and Zweigelt. I’m very excited to see the direction English Red Wine can go in in the next decade!”

How Did You Become Involved In The Wine Industry?

“I’ve always been involved with food and drink; I’ve worked most jobs in hospitality – from Maître d’ to Chef. When I moved to New Zealand, I was managing a restaurant in Wellington and fell in love with wine during my research and buying. I followed my newfound passion to Hawkes Bay, where I worked in wine sales and events until I fell into my first harvest. The rest is history!”

As A Winemaker, What Has Been Your Hardest Obstacle To Overcome In Producing Wine?

“There are plenty of obstacles in winemaking, particularly sparkling wine production. Forecasting style demands can be tricky when it can take five or more years to make a high-quality sparkling wine. Although the biggest obstacle has to be harvest. The long hours, sleep deprivation and hard work required means you really do need that passion to push you through. On the positive side, this means you usually get to work with like-minded people who share that same passion for wine.”

How Do You Determine When Your Wine Is Ready To Drink?

“Wine, like everything in life, is all about balance. With sparkling wine, the tertiary flavours come into play a lot more. Regular tasting is one of the perks of the job and waiting until the fruit profile, the yeast flavours, the alcohol, acid and mousse all line up perfectly is just about being patient. You can’t rush perfection.”

What Part Of The Wine Making Process Do You Enjoy The Most?

“I really enjoy barrel work. I know oak can be somewhat polarizing amongst winemakers but I am a huge fan of barrels. That’s not to say I want heaps of oak influence but there are fewer great days in the winery than being outside in the sun with an expanse of barrels to work through!”

Where’s The Most Memorable Place You’ve Enjoyed A Glass of Bubbly?

“Stellenbosch. I was working at Jordan Estate in 2020; we were watching the sunset on the back of the estate, overlooking Table Mountain. Myself and some other winemakers had a comparative tasting of English Sparkling, Methode Cap Classique and Grower Champagne. It was a very special moment.”

Thank you Peter, for sharing your words, knowledge and experience with us and we at Glass of Bubbly wish you the very best for the future!

Images belong to Peter Macauley. Glass of Bubbly was granted permission to use them.

Oliver Walkey

Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.