Robert 'Roo' Heywood – chief winemaker, Taltarni Vineyards

Roo grew up in Victoria's Western District, in Hamilton, developing a love for agriculture while working on farms around the district during his school holidays. After completing secondary school, he took twelve months off to do a GAP year in the UK. During his European travels, Roo found a new love in wine and viticulture and decided to follow this newfound passion upon his return back to Oz. He completed a Diploma in Horticulture at Melbourne University but wanted to focus more on viticulture so it was off to La Trobe University to study viticulture science and winemaking. 

Upon completion of his studies, Roo worked as a winemaker in South Australia's Barossa Valley. Whilst working with some of the country's best fruit, as well as some of the best winemakers in the Valley, Roo found he had a real passion for red wine making, especially shiraz. During this stint in SA, he traveled to the Northern Hemisphere to do vintages in Bordeaux's St-Émilion at Château Teyssier in 2004 and 2006. It was while working with the French that he came to fully appreciate and understand the importance of producing the best possible fruit in addition to crafting the best possible wine. With this newfound knowledge, it was time to return to Australia to apply these skills to Australia’s distinctive fruit styles.

In 2008, it was back to the Northern Hemisphere, this time to World's End Winery in California's Napa Valley. Roo found an old friend in cabernet while in the Napa, and his love for the variety was reignited.

Upon his return to Australia, Roo moved 'home' to Victoria. He found a fantastic opportunity in 2009 at Taltarni Vineyards and has not looked back since, enjoying the huge variety at Taltarni, not only working with great red fruit but also magnificent sparkling and white varieties. The variety of Roo's work extends beyond winemaking; he and wife Catherine welcomed their second baby daughter in 2013.

Roo's key Taltarni wine moment:

"Toasting the new year at the beach with family and friends with our 2011 Taltarni Blanc de Blancs." 

Download Roo's biography as a PDF

Senior Winemaker Robert Heywood

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