A Hardy replaces a Lehmann chez Hesketh

Jonathon Hesketh (left) and Phil Lehmann (Photo: Hesketh Wines)

Big changes are happening at the Hesketh family’s WD Wines in the Barossa Valley, with Philip Lehmann – son of Peter Lehmann – leaving and long-time Petaluma winemaker Andrew Hardy joining. WD Wines produces wine under several brands including Parker Coonawarra Estate, Hesketh, Vickery, and St John’s Road.

Andrew Hardy has 36 years experience making wine in the Barossa, Clare, Adelaide Hills and Coonawarra.

Lehmann, who has been chief winemaker for five years, is leaving on October 26th to devote himself to his family brand, Max & Me (Max is his dog), his Eden Valley vineyard and other small projects. He will continue in a consulting capacity with WD Wines.

One famous name leaves, another famous name arrives. Andrew Hardy, son of the late Bob Hardy, has 36 years experience making wine in the Barossa, Clare, Adelaide Hills and Coonawarra. He has worked chiefly at Knappstein in Clare and Petaluma, where he’s been chief winemaker since 2004. Petaluma has promoted long-serving winemaker Mike Mudge to take Hardy’s place.

An exciting project is being developed between Hardy and WD Wines CEO Jonathon Hesketh, involving grapes from Bob Hardy’s distinguished Upper Tintara vineyard in McLaren Vale. The brand will be named Ox Hardy Wines, ‘The Ox’ being Hardy’s nickname. Hardy and Hesketh had already begun developing the Ox Hardy project, with wines to be debuted next year, when the opportunity arose for him to take a wider role in the company. Hardy will become director of winemaking with oversight of viticulture and winemaking across the group.

The roles of winemaker James Lienert, Coonawarra viticulturist Brett Williams and Barossa viticulturist Warwick Murray are unchanged.

As well, Keeda Zilm will join WD Wines as winemaker. She has been at O’Leary Walker in the Clare Valley since graduating in oenology from Adelaide University 16 years ago. She has experience in Burgundy and Oregon and will provide continuity for the Vickery brand, as she has been making the wines under contract at O’Leary Walker.

Jonathon Hesketh commented:

“I’d like to publicly thank Phil Lehmann for the wonderful wines he’s made during his time with us, and am pleased that he’ll remain part of our winemaking team going forward, albeit in a reduced capacity.”

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