The Winemaker – Warren Proft
Winemaker Warren Proft has made every Chrismont wine since his first vintage working alongside Arnie Pizzini in 1999. Clearly at home in cool climates, Warren grew up in Tumut at the foot of the Snowy Mountains, and studied Oeneology at Charles Sturt University in Wagga.
He commenced his winemaking career in the Riverina region with Orlando Wyndham, and later Miranda Wines. Both large-scale wine operations with fruit sourcing from multiple regions, Warren got a crash course in many different aspects of winemaking.
Warren then set about gaining as much international experience as he could, spending three years as a flying winemaker working vintages in Spain and Australia. His understanding of the vast cultural diversity of the global wine industry underlines his winemaking philosophy.
It was the sense of culture and community that kept him returning to Spain, and when he resettled permanently in Australia, it was those same attributes of the King Valley that appealed to him most.
For six years, Warren was Senior Winemaker at King Valley Wines, the contract winemaking business established by a cooperative including Arnie Pizzini.
As contract winemaker, Warren worked first hand with the multiple styles being grown in the region, and identified the opportunities to make truly great regional and varietal wines.
When Arnie Pizzini approached him to make the first wines from his own vineyards, Warren drew on his instinct with the objective to make wines that spoke of the vineyard, the region and the people who grew the fruit.
With the establishment of the Chrismont winery, Warren was made full-time custodian of all wines, and was part of the winery design process, incorporating elements he had worked with in Spain for small batch processing.
The new winery allowed Warren to have a hand from the vineyard right through to the bottle – a privilege he values above all, still to this day.