Big changes are afoot at Ballandean Estate, Queensland’s oldest family-owned and operated winery. After 22 years at the helm, star winemaker Dylan Rhymer will be wrapping up vintage 2022 in the next few weeks. Next stop, Brisbane, as he moves to be closer to family and pursue a career in the bicycle industry.
Fourth generation vigneron Leeanne Puglisi-Gangemi said, “Dylan has underpinned Ballandean Estate’s industry accolades for almost a quarter of a century. He’s our longest-serving winemaker. We’ve survived drought, bushfires, hailstorms and floods – he’s family.”
Ballandean’s winemaker Rhymer considers his legacy to be the birth and continuance of the estate’s signature wine, Generation 3. This premium wine is only made when the vintage is exceptional. No compromise, winning a swag of national gold medals since the first release in 2002.
“Starting in the vineyard with a blend of science and years of experience in the Granite Belt growing grapes, to bring in our Shiraz and Cabernet fruit in optimal condition. Then there’s the winemaking. Premium barrels are hand-selected. We coax that fruit into releasing everything it has to offer, constantly striving to make something different and wonderful to show you, but still respecting its integrity,’ says Mr Rhymer.
Rhymer led the development of an internationally acclaimed Saperavi style on the Granite Belt. In 2018, Ballandean Estate entered the Saperavi World Prize for the first time and came third in the world with its 2015 vintage. His commitment to premium wine saw Ballandean Estate convert to Procork, flying in the face of widespread screwcap adoption.
Over his tenure at Ballandean Estate, Rhymer’s legacy includes delivering the 50th Anniversary Edition 2018 Shiraz. Ballandean Estate’s award-winning single vineyard premium Shiraz is sourced from the Opera Block’s oldest vines, planted in 1968, some of the oldest in Australia. As a “Flying Winemaker”, Dylan has followed vintages and wine seasons around the world, from Marlborough, Hawkes Bay, Bulgaria, Spain, to South Australia and the Granite Belt.
Dylan was working in Spain when he saw the opportunity to be part of the growth and development of the Queensland wine industry in the late 1990s. In the time Dylan has served at Ballandean Estate, he has supported the Queensland wine industry as it has grown in leaps and bounds.
The symbiotic relationship that exists between Dad’s (Angelo Puglisi) experimentation with rare varietals and Dylan’s R&D approach to modern winemaking has helped position the Granite Belt as a region that continues to build on its momentum for new, exciting wines that suit our ever-changing climate”, says Ms Puglisi-Gangemi.
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