Oakridge is one of this country’s most respected cool climate producers, with Chief Winemaker David Bicknell especially lauded for his contribution to the revolution in Australian Chardonnay, and the mapping of some particularly distinguished vineyards through single-site bottlings, but Oakridge has also fostered a wealth of exceptional talent as senior winemakers, like Beechworth’s Adrian Rodda. Tim Perrin now occupies those shoes and while maintaining the refined excellence that Oakridge is known for across the classic Yarra Valley varieties, he has also contributed some less classic wines to the portfolio, with a take on pinot meunier as a table wine and a skinsy pinot gris made in collaboration with Oakridge’s acclaimed chef, Matt Stone.
Perrin graduated from Charles Sturt University in 2006 with a degree in wine sciences, he was Dux of the AWRI Advanced Wine Assessment Coarse in 2015, and he was a Len Evans Scholar in 2019. He has worked in California, at Golden State Vintners, as well as in Coonawarra, Yenda, near Griffith, NSW, and notably with the great Jim Chatto at McWilliams Wines from 2012 to 2015. He moved to the Yarra after McWilliams to take on the role at Oakridge.
“My first vintage with Oakridge was 2016, I started two weeks before harvest. It was the earliest and shortest vintage in history for the region. It was the steepest of learning curves, but the wines made are still drinking beautifully today. Highly challenging yet highly rewarding,” says Perrin.
The following vintage saw Perrin help make the wine that he regards as the greatest he has even been involved with, the 2017 ‘864 Funder & Diamond Drive Block’ Chardonnay. And while wines like this are the core of both Oakridge and Tim’s role, the spirit of adventure runs deep.
“Oakridge is renowned for producing high-end single-vineyard and single-block wines from traditional Yarra Valley varieties; the wines submitted to Young Gun of Wine sit outside of this sphere. They are a different and modern winemaking approach to traditional varieties to produce wines that are high in quality and extremely approachable,” he says. “I think a winemaker should be open to all styles of wine and winemaking but must make the best wine possible from what the vineyard is giving you.”