Tim Perrin Port Phillip Estate & Kooyong

Top Winemakers

Kooyong and Port Phillip Estate are two of the Mornington Peninsula’s enduring stars. Tim Perrin took on the role of chief winemaker of both estates in 2023, where he gets to demonstrate his understanding of chardonnay and pinot noir across some of the Mornington Peninsulas most recognised vineyard sites.

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. In 2023 Perrin took on the role of Chief Winemaker at Port Phillip Estate and Kooyong.

At the helm of Port Phillip Estate, Tim Perrin delves into the pivotal decisions that define a vintage, emphasizing the critical nature of timing in the vineyard. “The day you pick is the most important decision as it locks in your acid, alcohol, and flavour levels and I have really tried to push the ripeness up a bit to make more expressive flavoursome wines,” he explains, highlighting his proactive approach to enhancing the wine’s character.

Perrin’s enthusiasm extends to the introduction of new clones, particularly for Pinot Noir. “We have also planted some newer clones of Pinot Noir and I’m excited to see how these go in the future,” he remarks, indicating a forward-looking perspective on vineyard management.

Transitioning to the Mornington Peninsula brought a new set of variables for Perrin, who has a deep affection for the region’s potential. “I’m passionate about single-site Chardonnay and Pinot Noir so what better place to work in than the Mornington Peninsula. Throw in the beautiful beaches and scenery and it’s a match made in heaven,” he says, capturing his enthusiasm for the area’s unique offerings.

However, the region’s weather patterns pose certain hurdles. “The main challenge is the fickle coastal weather that has seen cropping levels been heavily impacted along with constant disease pressure particularly in La Nina season. Climate change is bringing more extreme variations in weather and less stability which keeps us on our toes,” Perrin notes, acknowledging the complexities brought on by environmental factors.

Describing his winemaking philosophy, Perrin emphasizes a hands-off approach that allows the vineyard to express itself. “To put simply, my winemaking emphasis is on minimal intervention with maximum attention. Our focus is in single-site wines that reflect not only the soil they are grown in and also the region. My style is fruit-focused as the vineyard is the real hero and wines should speak less about as the winemaker, I put great attention into phenolic and tannin extraction as these add complexity and complement the fruit. I want to see fruit, I want see complexity and I want to see balance and purity,” he articulates, showcasing his dedication to creating wines that genuinely reflect their origin.

Looking ahead, Perrin envisions a future deeply rooted in the Mornington Peninsula, continuously exploring the potential of its varietals. “Hopefully still here, I love the region, the vineyards and the wines, but importantly the people. Chardonnay and pinot noir are the rockstars but I’m excited to see how our new gamay plantings perform,” he shares, illustrating his commitment to both the land and its community.

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