Meet the Maker - Pete Graham from Domenica
Meet the Maker - Pete Graham from Domenica

We chat to the wonderful Pete Graham - the owner, vigneron and winemaker, who does everything himself by hand as custodian to a land that really has a lot to say.

Domenica is a wonderful vineyard planted in the 'good area' of Beechworth, on the North East Victorian region’s famous granite soils. While relatively unsung as a 'brand', the wine we have here at Good Pair Days is called ‘Two Cells’ and comes from this incredibly special vineyard and winery with a long, pedigreed story.

We chat to the wonderful Pete Graham - the owner, vigneron and winemaker, who does everything himself by hand as custodian to a land that really has a lot to say. He doesn’t grow a whole lot of different varieties, its all about Chardonnay, Nebbiolo and Shiraz here (and a smattering of Roussanne an Marsanne) which are now reaching a vine age proving just how good Beechworth wine can be on the world stage.

Pete has two huge round open concrete fermenters in his winery - they are pretty cool! Like his famed neighbour (his uncle Rick) from Giaconda, Pete is an erudite, and considerate man who would much prefer growing grapes and making wine than actually selling it. The dry summers and granite soils of Beechworth provide a fertile ground for textured, complex wines that truly deserve more praise.

Pete Grahams 'Domenica' Chardonnay is some of Beechworth's finest ever produced

Q1. We chatted to your fellow winemaking mate Chris Catlow last week, and he was singing your praises. What ‘skills’ do you think it takes to be a (great) winemaker?

Yes Chris is a great friend and an amazing help around here. I love his wines and agree that intuition is important but certainly patience. You need patience. I don’t think it’s the most highly skilled job (winemaking) on earth. A degree of trust in yourself in the decisions you’re making because it is creative.

Q2. What is your favourite wine to make?

At the moment, its kind of um... Rosé. Its dynamic! You have to keep doing things to get it right, whereas my other wines such as Nebbiolo, you have to just make it and wait forever. I’ve been saying I love making Rosé for years – I’m really engaged with it.

Q3. Does Rosé age well?

No, although my Rosé probably does.

Blue skies, sunny Beechworth

Q4. You’ve got a slight reputation for being ‘quiet’ but I think that’s a little unfair. You just think before you speak… do you spend much time on social media?

No not really, and I didn’t notice the Facebook outage this week. I love being outdoors and not too concerned with what others are up to. We should all practice a little less judgement of others.

Q5. What do you like to drink?

Champagne. White Burgundy. Nebbiolo… I am pretty simple in my wine tastes, but always willing to try things.

Winemaking friends of Beechworth: Pete Graham (left) Chris Catlow and Simon Grant

Q6. What inspires you? And is inspiration important to you?

Nothing inspires me. I have a great deal of respect for people who achieve great things from their own hard work and limited opportunity. So in some ways, I find hard work ‘inspirational’ but I don’t use it to make myself a better person or wine producer.

Q7. If you could make wine anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

Far North QLD. So I can go fishing. In another dimension, perhaps

Natural granite outdoor 'tasting room' at Domenica

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