Ben Luker Meredith

Top Winemakers

In the heart of Western Victoria, Ben Luker’s Meredith label emerges as a reflection of his rich and varied journey in the wine industry. With a background that spans an array of roles, from restaurant service to in-depth wine research, Luker’s foray into winemaking is a testament to his deep-seated passion for the craft. The 2023 debut of Meredith, from the 2023 vintage, is not just a milestone for Luker but an ode to Western Victoria. His approach is unmistakably ‘punter-friendly,’ emphasizing low-fi winemaking that underscores the intrinsic qualities of varietal riesling and grenache, with the Meredith lineup complimented by a rosé and pét-nat.

Luker’s transition from various facets of the wine world to establishing his label is marked by an enlightening moment that propelled him into action. He recalls, “I had just completed a vintage in the Willamette Valley in Oregon and we were having a post-harvest dinner with the vintage team and the owners of the winery. We were going around the table saying what each of our goals were for the future. I was rambling on about wanting to do more vintages before eventually starting my own label in the future when one of the owners jumped in and said, ‘what are you waiting for?’. I came back to Australia and started the process.”

The decision to root his label in Western Victoria is born out of a deep appreciation for the region’s winegrowing potential, despite its relative obscurity. Luker notes, “Western Victoria has a great pedigree of producing great wines for a very long period of time yet flies under the radar. Compared to other regions, we have a small number of producers and growers, geographically spread out over a large distance, which means we don’t get the amount of attention we deserve.” This choice underscores Luker’s desire to spotlight the unique characteristics and untapped potential of the region’s vineyards.

Sustainability is a cornerstone of Luker’s winemaking philosophy, influencing not just his vineyard practices but extending to his choices in packaging. He is conscientious about the environmental impact of his products, choosing “the lightest available bottles for each style of glass as this constitutes roughly 30% of the carbon footprint of wine.” This decision reflects a broader commitment to sustainability that is woven into the fabric of Meredith wines, underscoring Luker’s intent to harmonize his craft with environmental stewardship.

Luker’s winemaking process is deeply influenced by the changing climate, prompting a focus on natural acidity and thoughtful grape selection. He elaborates, “Climate change has made me focus much more on the acid levels in picking decisions than on baume. Making acid-driven wines that rely on natural acidity, this drives when I decide to pick and then other winemaking decisions are simply ramifications of this initial decision.” This adaptive approach allows Luker to produce wines that are not only reflective of their terroir but also attuned to the evolving conditions of their environment.

As Luker looks to the future, he remains dedicated to exploring and deepening his understanding of the varietals at the heart of his label. He muses, “I feel like I’m just scratching the surface in my understanding of Riesling and Grenache, so I would still love to keep exploring them each year.”

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