PATIENCE PERSISTENCE PASSION PERCEPTION PERSONALITY
Chris Cormack , the founder of PEGERIC , developed his interest in wine while working weekends at his father's wine and spirit store , which was established in Melbourne in 1958. After leaving school , he began work in the store , which was one of the first to introduce new , small boutique wineries to Mellbourne . Today, these wineries such as Bowen Estate , Brand's Laira , Coriole , Knappstein's Enterprise , Leconfield , Mitchell Clare Valley and Rosemount Estate are Australian Icons.
As Chris' interest developed , he turned to the production side and enrolled in the Viticulture course at Riverina College of Advanced Education ( now Charles Sturt University ) at Wagga Wagga , NSW. After studying and also working as the trainee viticulturalist in the college vineyard , he completed his studies in 1982 and became only the second person to graduate from the Applied Science Viticulture course . In the early 1980's , there was little interest in viticulture in Australia and it was even difficult to convince people to use foilage wires in a vineyard , let alone plant vines in a cool climate ! During this course , Chris studied advanced plant physiology as a special subject , not normally part of the viticulture course . This combined with a R.C.A.E. Wine Technical Tour of Europe in 1983 , encouraged him to embark on some practices that were not common in Australia at that time - close planting vines on good rich soil , vertical shoot positioning , straw mulching , and no irrigation .Despite many negative attitudes to these ideas , he was encouraged by his viticultural mentor , Dr MAX LODER , senior viticulture lecturer at Charles Sturt University. Dr Loder was the first person to actively promote the planting of Pinot Gris in Australia , and is known as the " FATHER OF PINOT GRIS " in Australia. Dr Loder emphasised to his students to be adaptable and to always look for the " limiting factor " in any situation . This information proved invaluable , as events in both nature and life are often variable .
In 1986 , Chris spent 11 months travelling the world with Petaluma vineyard manager, Alan Dean . This involved working and studying in many wine regions in both Europe and the USA. It even included a stint in Jon Leighton's pioneering English vineyard at Stanlake Park , Twyford , which was a catalyst for the resurgence of quality wine production in England and was really "cool climate " viticulture !! After returning to Australia , Chris consulted in some vineyard reconstruction in the Yarra Valley , as well as working in many other regions. In 1987 , after months of searching , he selected a site for the establishing his own vineyard in the Macedon Ranges about 85 km north of Melbourne . This was a region that he considered having the best potential in Australia to produce great wine . The block of land had not been used previously for viticulture and was isolated from most of the vineyards in the area . It was also one of the highest and coolest sites in the Macedon Ranges suitable for viticulture.The land was allowed to rest and lie fallow for a few years to allow the natural organisms to regenerate and was then planted in 1991. Production was not rushed and the first commercial crop was harvested in 1997. It produced a single 228 litre barrique of Pinot Noir made utilising the great skills of Llew Knight and Ian Gunter of GRANITE HILLS . This wine was released after extended bottle ageing in May 2003 . In 2004 a small block of Riesling , the worlds finest grape variety , was planted . This block was also dry grown and close planted .
" THE FLYING VITICULTURALIST "
There are many " Flying Winemakers " but not too many people can claim to be a genuine " Flying Viticulturalist " ! Since late 2004 , Chris has been working as a Flight Attendant with QANTAS . He was also involved as a team member, in the initial course design , development and training of the QANTAS Sommeliers In The Sky program which is committed to showcasing great Australian wines and offering premium wine service to QANTAS customers. Details can be found on the QANTAS website - www.qantas.com.au