Winemaker Patrick Sullivan is a true Australian treasure, with a strong sense of purity that translates into an infectious passion for agriculture and viticulture. Born and raised in rural Victoria, Patrick took a rather nomadic journey to becoming one of Australia’s most sought after and respected producers. That path began at the age of 12 when he spent time planting vines during the school break. This initial spark developed into a fascination and focus on the science and intrigue of growing produce.
After high school, Patrick toyed with the idea of pursuing a career as a pediatrician, before spending two years working and traveling in Europe, finally returning to Australia to study botany and complete a post-graduate in actuarial science. He went on to gain invaluable experience working alongside respected winemakers, William Downie, Anna Martens and Eric Narioo. He still collaborates with William Downie, producer of Australia's best Pinot Noir.
In 2010, with help and inspiration from his mentors, Patrick launched his own brand Patrick Sullivan Wines using grapes grown on leased farmland. Four years later, and in collaboration with his wife Megan, Sullivan bought a farm in the Strzelecki Ranges of West Gippsland having grown familiar with the region over eight or so years of visiting. Patrick strictly adheres to the belief that the vast majority of the work needed to produce a great bottle of wine is in the vineyard and with his own property he now has full control over how his grapes and how his vines are cared for throughout the year
The brand embodies Patrick’s passion for and commitment to his natural surroundings, with each of his small-batch, boutique wines inspired by an emotion, a moment in time and a sense of place. His approach to the land and its produce is entirely sensory; the bottles at the end of the winemaking process are filled with a pure expression of the fruit that goes into it, with no intervention other than time. He is entirely immersed in the process and a true purveyor of producing acclaimed, intriguing and honest wines.
One thing you should know about Patrick Sullivan is you try not to refer to his wines in front of him as ’Natural Wines’. He’s not a big fan of that moniker. Yes for a while he was lumped into the Natural Wine camp, but these days Patrick prefers to distance himself from the term, believing it is ambiguous, overly-simplistic and misleading. His approach to winemaking is definitely minimalist with wild yeast and neutral vessels used as well as minimal or no sulphur, but the wines are clean and free of many faults that have that are often associated with ‘Natural Wines’
Over the years, Patrick has been inspired by others who are not necessarily in the same industry, but set a benchmark within their own discipline and are in constant pursuit for sustainability and best practice. He passionately believes that when you speak with, and surround yourself by such individuals you can learn from what they do, and mirror it across to your own specialty, promoting originality and growth.