Sudeep Parial Pipers Brook Vineyard & Kreglinger Wine Estates

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Pipers Brook Vineyard is nearing its fiftieth anniversary, having long ago confirmed its icon status in Tasmania. Playing to the island’s strengths, pinot noir and chardonnay for still and sparkling wines are a key thread, with aromatic whites arguably playing just as important a role. Today, Sudeep Parial manages the winery under the direction of Luke Whittle, shaping the classically styled wines across four ranges.

The Pipers Brook Vineyard is one of Tasmania’s most important, helping to carve out a reputation for the island state when it was still a fledgling wine producer. That reputation was built on cool climate varieties and sparkling wine, with Tasmania vignerons still betting on cabernet when brothers Dr Andrew and David Pirie established the Tamar Valley site in 1974. Pinot noir, chardonnay and riesling led the way, and today they are the varieties most associated with Tasmanian winemaking.

Kreglinger Wine Estates took over majority of the vineyard and brands in 2000, with Dr Andrew Pirie leaving in 2003 with the Tasmanian wine mission firmly established. Today, the winery is led by Luke Whittle as chief winemaker, with Sudeep Parial working alongside him and taking charge of all winery operations. “I am entirely responsible from the time the fruit arrives in the winery. I am responsible for juice and must finings, ferment management and the maturation process to the blending process. As a team, we work on blends from different blocks, fining on wine and dosage rates for sparkling wines.”

Parial’s first vintage was at Margaret River’s Forester Estate in 2010, and he earned a graduate diploma in wine science from Curtin University. But it was at Naturaliste Vintners under the watchful eye of Bruce Dukes that he regards as the time that really honed his skills and developed his knowledge. He was promoted to assistant winemaker in 2013, leaving in 2017 to take up a winemaker role at Latitude 34 Wine Co. for a year.

Seeking experience outside of Margaret River, Parial took on a role at the Clare Valley’s Kirrihill Wines to gain experience making bigger reds. “I learnt a lot about South Australian shiraz and cabernet, very different from Margaret River… In 2020, I started working as a winemaker at Pipers Brook Vineyard, which has empowered me to explore cool climate and sparkling winemaking. I have gained immense knowledge in making pinot noirs and sparkling wines.”

Pipers Brook, Ninth Island, Pipers Tasmania and Kreglinger Sparkling all sit under the Kreglinger Wine Estates banner, working from the Pipers Brook winery. Unsurprisingly the core varieties are pinot noir and chardonnay, along with riesling, sauvignon blanc, gewürztraminer, sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio.

Parial notes that his approach is a simple one, with basic winemaking 101s and cleanliness key. “I am just trying to make the best wine we can make,” he says. “I am not trying to reinvent the wheel by drastically changing too many things. I like to monitor the nitrogen closely pre-ferment and use precision nutrients to make the ferment perform the best it can with help of yeast and good barrel selection.”

This is an approach that underpins Parial’s work, with technology used as an aid to guide the wines by closely monitoring ferment temperatures, acid and sulphur levels, along with wines maturing in both tank and barrel. “We don’t need to do too many weird things to create a point of difference, just aspire to make a good product with all the accessible tools and aids,” he says.

While Parial says that Tasmania is ideal for sparkling wine and pinot noir, they are still very much at the mercy of Mother Nature. “The challenge is the changing climate,” he says. “Some years, rain at the wrong time of harvest has hampered our quality, and other years it has helped it to enhance the quality. But we are fortunate enough to be able to reduce our challenges with access to subregional fruit, which helps us maintain a level of high quality.”

In the end, for Parial it is about making wines that are true to place and style. “Our wines are well-balanced and approachable, representing the Pipers River region. I would like to see us make more great wines that would be appreciated over several years to come, and I would like to continue making wines in Tasmania and be part of the ever-changing industry.”

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