Skip to main content
Our Winemaker

Our Winemaker

Our Winemaker and co-owner, Keppell Smith, has long had a passion for fine wine. After a few years spent in the money markets "fine tuning" this passion Keppell knew he needed to express this on a more fundamental level and his quest to find a site and become a winemaker was born.

Leaving the money markets Keppell roamed Australia looking for the perfect site whilst working with key figures in winemaking. In Beechworth, he wondered with such an icon of Australian wine, Giaconda, located here why there were not more vineyards. He figured the decomposed granitic loam soil, the microclimate of the region and vineyard aspect were key elements to creating a great wine.

After many months of talks with a local farmer, the Savaterre site was purchased and a vineyard planted in 1996.

Keppell's winemaking technique is a minimalistic, hands-off approach. "It is all about the quality of the fruit from the fantastic site we have here at Savaterre." His approach to winemaking is in the tradition of the fine wines of Burgundy.

In the winery no yeasts are added to the basket pressed juice. "It is all up to wild yeast to start, maintain and finish the fermentation." Keppell particularly likes the layers of complexity a wild yeast fermentation and lengthy lees ageing adds to the wine.

The wine spends a total of 18 months in personally imported French oak barriques and then 6 months in bottle before being released.

Savaterre Chardonnay is in Langton's Classification of Australian Wine and served in Emirates Airlines First Class.