Andrew Ling Agitate Wines

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Andrew Ling’s foray into the winemaking world was serendipitous – his transition into the field in 2001 as a vintage lab assistant, a favor from his soccer coach, prevented this star player from leaving Mudgee. It didn’t take long for the wine bug to bite, and his career has since spanned roles with leading names across Mudgee, Orange, and the Hunter Valley. In 2017, Ling assumed the role of Senior Winemaker at Carillion Wines, a position he retains to this day. His own venture, Agitate Wines, was launched in 2021 with a Pét-Nat Riesling, and the label has since expanded to include five wines. The Agitate wines embrace a minimal intervention approach: unfiltered and unfined, they are “raw and textured,” in Ling’s words, yet “generally bottled in their youth” to capture their brightness and freshness, resulting in eminently gluggable wines.

Andrew Ling and his wife Natalie have called the Hunter Valley home since 2016. “My family and I love the Hunter region. All the other winemakers here are so helpful and supportive with new brands etc.”

The opportunity to make the first Agitate wine came in 2021 when Ling came across a batch of unwanted riesling pressings and decided to make a pet-nat. “Fun and uncomplicated,” is how Ling describes his wines. “I guess I am similar to other winemakers with the minimal intervention approach, but what I mainly focus on is ensuring each wine has plenty of energy and its own personality, but mainly speaks of the site and variety”

The Agitate linup currently includes a Petit Verdot from Hunter Valley, a Syrah Pinot Noir blend from Orange, a rosé and a pét-nat. “These are on trend styles that happen to be the wines that my wife and I love to drink and we are extremely passionate about. The end game is to be completely sustainable both in the vineyard and winery and create something that hopefully my kids can be proud of and take over one day.”

His choice to make a varietal wine from the unfashionable and unheralded petit verdot delivers on Ling’s intent: “The intent behind Agitate was and is to create a range of wines that were unapologetic, showcasing Terroir with slightly odd varietals and styles and highlighting my skills and experience I have acquired over my 20+ years in the wine industry.”

The wines are fresh and delicious, and Ling point out how the decisions at harvest help achieve this while maintaining varietal definition in the wines: “Regarding the Petit Verdot, we were ruthless at pruning time to ensure we had even ripening, this also increases quality as the fruit is more concentrated. I also went through and bunch thinned. This means a lower crop but more uniformed, thus increasing quality.”

The Agitate wines are a family affair for Andrew and his wife Natalie. “My family is the reason to finally create my own label. Creating a legacy is very hard to do and maintain. My dream is creating something that my kids can be proud of and hopefully one day take over.”

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