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Hungerford Hill’s reputation for quality wines was established by its first “named” winemaker, Ralph Fowler. Ralph was appointed winemaker in 1980 and made his first vintage in 1981. Prior vintages do not show the winemaker on the label.
Ralph Fowler’s career started in 1971 at Tyrrell’s Wines in the Hunter Valley and he was one of the key people in the development of Tyrrell’s Vat series wines.
At Hungerford Hill Ralph was responsible for making the 1983 Hungerford Hill Riesling from its Coonawarra vineyards winning Champion White Wine of Show 7 times, 14 trophies and 28 gold medals over two years.
Ralph was guest speaker at Hungerford Hill’s 40th vintage lunch in 2010, and told many hilarious stories about the early days of Hungerford Hill and some of the characters he worked with!
In 1990, following the take-over of Hungerford Hill by Seppelts, Ralph joined The Hamilton Wine Group, owner of Leconfield and Hamilton Wines. One of the highlights of his career was in 1996 when was named Winemaker of the Year, winning the Singapore Airlines Trophy at the Adelaide Wine Show – one of the most prestigious Wine Shows in Australia’s Wine Circuit.
After 30 years in the industry, Ralph and his wife Deborah bought a property in the Mount Benson region, and planted Shiraz and Viognier. Ralph is still making wines under the Ralph Fowler Wines label, along with Deborah and their children Sarah and James.