Meet the winemaker
MARK’S STORY I first came to the Bathurst area in late 1987 from Illinois in the U.S. to be with my lovely wife, Sandy, who at the time was living in the Blue Mountains. We both love country living and dreamed of owning some land and a vineyard. After years of searching, in 1995 we chose a small property near the quaint little village of O’Connell. After returning to Bathurst from Illinois where I helped my brother and father expand Alto Vineyards, I was keen to grow grapes and make wines in O’Connell. So, in October of 1997 with Sandy 8 and 3/4 months pregnant with our second son Paul, we planted a hectare of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. We made our first wines in 2001 mainly as a hobby while I was working full-time as viticulturist/winemaker for Winburndale Wines. The hobby has grown to the point where Renzaglia Wines is now my sole occupation along with vineyard consulting and contract wine making.
BATHURST GRAPE GROWING The Bathurst region is ‘on the edge’ when it comes to suitability for growing grapes. This is mainly due to its water limitations and frost risk in late spring. However, with good site selection and proper selection of grape variety, the fact that we are ‘on the edge’ is what helps us to produce wines with good balance between acidity and ripeness. We are a cool climate region but we are warm enough to be able to ripen many reds successfully. Also, most of the soils in the area are granite based and/or old, ancient and infertile. This also helps to give our wines a special character and interest.
AWARDS While working as the Winemaker/Viticulturist at Winburndale Wines from 2000 -2011, we won numerous trophies and accolades for our wines. I was also fortunate to win the Viticulturist Travel Award for the production of the grapes used to make the National Champion Red Wine at the 2010 Australian Small Winemakers Show for the 2008 Fontana Cabernet Sauvignon. This was an especially gratifying award as we were competing against almost 1000 other red wines. The Renzaglia Wines have done well in competitions having received gold, silver and bronze medals.
Meet the family
Sandy and I have two sons, Sam 23 and Paul 19. Sam is now working for us full time and Paul is back regularly helping out in the vineyard and the winery. Sam has just completed a business degree at UTS and Paul is studying physics at the University of Wollongong. While wine making and grape growing is my passion, Sandy’s is gardening, seed saving, building rock walls and paving around our straw bale house with rocks.