The Hesketh Wine Company is a small, family owned producer of high quality, yet accessible wines. We work with our own growers and process our own wines like traditional wineries. But rather than attempt to be all things to all people from one region, our approach is to remain focused on the individual strengths of different South Australian growing regions.
Specific vineyards – Each wine is either made from a single vineyard or sourced from a small selection of specific vineyards in each region. Fruit comes from both our own vineyards in Coonawarra and the Barossa Valley, as well as from specialised local growers.
Winery – Hesketh wines are made at our facility in the Barossa Valley by our winemakers Phil Lehmann and James Lienert.
House style – Wines are made to a 'Hesketh' style, which is based on balance and complexity but more importantly, 'drinkability'. Wines with generous flavours and aromatics, which also retain a sense of place – wines which reflect the vineyards they are grown in.
Proprietor & Principal Debt Holder
Born and raised in Adelaide to Shirley and Robert, Jonathon spent a year in Burgundy, with the family, when he was nine and returned speaking English with a French accent.
After finishing school (just) he spent another year in France working on the family's vineyard project, before returning home to spend eight years learning alternative vocations in Export Trading and FMCG.
Forever grateful to the late and great Greg Trott (proprietor of Wirra Wirra Vineyards in McLaren Vale) for an entry back into the wine industry, Jonathon stayed nearly seven years at Wirra Wirra, with a stint in New Zealand on the distribution side of the wine business; running Lion Nathan's Distinguished Vineyards.
After realising long ago that working for the man was never going to feed two dogs, four children, two cats, four chickens and an ever-so-patient wife, the family returned to Adelaide in early 2006 to establish the Hesketh Wine Company.
Chief Task Juggler and Binding Agent
Born in Northern Ireland to Joe and Eleanor, with one older brother Sean, Trish emigrated with her family to Melbourne when she was just three. After working in fashion with Perri Cutten Trish flew for Ansett for twelve years, only calling it quits after child number three.
In between times Trish has manned the Cellar Door in McLaren Vale and worked in PR in New Zealand. Often referred to as ‘The Dish’, but more accurately as the brains, the common sense and the glue to the Hesketh tribe with an uncanny ability to multi-task. (A gene that other members of the family missed out on.)
Chairman, Compass & Protagonist
Everyone needs an experienced head in their business, and we’re pretty fortunate to have one with this many miles under his belt. It probably easier to mention what Robert hasn’t done in the course of fifty years in the wine industry. Either way, he has always followed the path less travelled by, and has always been a constant source of guidance and inspiration. The other reality, is that Robert is only here to point and direct because he has had our Matriarch Shirley beside him along the way.
In 1979, Robert Hesketh and Peter Lehmann started a small enterprise called Masterson Wines. This business was celebrated for saving many Barossa growers during the vine pull scheme of the early 80's, and went on to become the family winemaking dynasty of Peter Lehmann wines. What they probably didn’t envisage was that their sons would be working together in the wine industry forty years later.
Phil, like Jonathon, spent time escaping the wine industry only to discover that once wine is in your blood, it tends to stay there. After several vintages at the family winery, Phil's winemaking career was interrupted in the form of an Honours Degree in Electrical Engineering. His winemaking journey began again with a two year international winemaking pilgrimage throughout Napa, Stellenbosch and Burgundy. After heading back to Australia, Phil completed formal winemaking study with a graduate diploma in Oenology at the University of Adelaide. For the next ten years he refined his winemaking skills at Yalumba, again in the family business, Peter Lehmann Wines, and at Teusner Wines.
He now finds himself as Chief Winemaker with the Hesketh family, a title that doesn't do his breadth of skills or wider contribution to the enterprise justice.
Hesketh Family & the Global Wine Industry
Our family has been heavily involved in the wine industry for nearly half a century.
Through patriarch Robert it was instilled in us from a very early age that the wine industry was global – and that it was also very small. As a result we’ve worked and/or lived in growing regions all over the world. From Burgundy & the South of France, to the UK & North America and throughout Australia & New Zealand.
Robert’s second mantra was to avoid convention. As a result, he influenced the industry by doing things differently and by following ‘the path less travelled by’.
Fifty odd years is not necessarily a long time in the wine industry. But as a great friend once pointed out; it’s not how old you are, but the miles you’ve done!
A snapshot of our family's history in the wine industry:
- Pioneering new world viticulture in Southern France, and development of the James Herrick brand in the UK
- Pioneering exports and marketing of Australian wines in the USA through the Mark Swann / Roo's Leap brands in the early 80's
- Introduction of membrane filtration technology to the Australian wine industry in the 70's
- Engineering the saviour of Barossa grape growers in the late 70's with Peter Lehmann
- Promoting and selling Australian wines around the globe in the 90's
- Development of the Bordertown wine growing region in South Australia with CuppaCup vineyards
- Facilitating wine business sales and acquisitions
- Building fine-wine distribution platforms in NZ
- Founding wine industry publications - The Australian & NZ Wine Industry Directory and Wine Industry Journal
- Shaping wine industry politics in the 80's – Robert was the founding chairman of the Australian Wine & Brandy Corporation
- Specialist wine business and marketing consulting, which we still provide for selected clients
- Our family has been heavily involved in the wine industry for nearly half a century.