WILLIAM DOWNIE

William Downie is an Australian winemaker. De Bortoli’s Steve Webber once described him as the “best winemaker in Australia” and a group of sommeliers have even formed a fan club, Team Downie. He is so highly regarded in Australian wine circles as a maker of top pinot noir that he is almost synonymous with the variety. But he doesn’t care much for this claim. William, or Bill as he is known, is a terroir-driven winemaker. For him the grape variety is incidental. And wine is an instrument, a memory tool of sorts. He is manically focused on making wines that can transport you to another place and time. He wants to release great representations of the sites where the grapes – regardless of variety – are grown. “We have to give up the quest to be a winemaker and have faith in the site,” he says. “Concentrating on varieties is like allowing the choice of motor car to define the trip, rather than the destination.”