Daniel Vladimir Zolotarev Curator Wine Co

Top Winemakers

Daniel Vladimir Zolotarev’s journey in the winemaking realm reflects a harmonious blend of tradition and innovation, deeply rooted in the rich terroirs of Barossa Valley. With an undergraduate degree in viticulture and oenology from the University of Adelaide, Daniel’s career trajectory has seen him take on roles from vineyard hand to a pivotal position at Curator Wine Co, where his collaboration with Tom White, the owner, has been instrumental. “We have about a 50/50 contribution between the both of us in terms of decision-making and processing responsibilities, from growing to bottling,” Daniel shares, highlighting the partnership’s balanced approach to winemaking.

The collaboration extends beyond Curator Wine Co to Smalltown Vineyards, a venture that bridges the legacy of Barossa winemaking with fresh perspectives. This project marks a new chapter in collaboration with Rolf Binder, a stalwart in the Barossa winemaking community, following the sale of his eponymous label. This partnership embodies a synergy of expertise, fostering a line-up of wines that respect tradition while embracing modernity.

Daniel’s winemaking philosophy is vividly expressed through his wines, particularly those from Curator Wine Co, which showcase classic Barossa varietals imbued with a unique character. “Delicious is paramount, dark, juicy, slurpy, easy drinking, punter friendly,” he describes, encapsulating the essence of his creations that distinguish them within the landscape of Barossa wines.

Experimentation and learning from both successes and near misses have been pivotal in Daniel’s winemaking approach. He recounts the valuable insights gained from Smalltown Vineyards’ Sub Aqua Club, where skin contact with white varietals unlocked new dimensions of texture and complexity. “We have also found that whole bunch is a great way to fill the void in the mid-palate for our shiraz batches,” he reflects, underlining the innovative techniques that enhance the wines’ profiles.

Daniel’s deep dive into the nuances of winemaking has led to certain absolutes, particularly in the crafting of skin contact whites and the strategic use of whole bunch fermentation in shiraz. These methods, he notes, are crucial in achieving a balance of phenolic development and clarity in the wines, setting a golden rule for producing exemplary varietals.

Looking ahead, Daniel is poised to continue his exploration of winemaking, driven by a passion for experimentation and a desire to expand his repertoire. “I will keep working on my skills as a winemaker through experimentation of small batches that fit house styles. I would like to work more with barbera and grenache in the coming years,” he anticipates, signaling a future where his creative freedom and commitment to quality will guide the evolution of his winemaking journey.

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