The Vickery Story

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John Vickery

"John Vickery is the acknowledged old master of Riesling in Australia, with an illustrious career spanning nearly sixty years, culminating in the extraordinary awards tally of more than fifty Trophies and over four hundred Gold Medals."

John Vickery has been instrumental in shaping the history of Riesling in Australia. Working his first vintage back in 1951, John Vickery built his illustrious career around strict attention to detail and old-fashioned hard work. His fastidious nature and particular ways are legendary and an integral part of greatness.

His mastery began with Leo Buring in 1955 at Chateau Leonay winery, where the focus was on Eden Valley and Watervale fruit. Without any modern-day processing, equipment winemaking was quite a crude process, which shows true testament to his outstanding ability. Vickery’s hallmark approaches were cool fermentation and careful handling, so it was in the latter years with the introduction of refrigeration and airbag presses, that John was best able to capture the Riesling grape’s fine delicate flavours.

With more than fifty Trophies and an incredible four hundred Gold Medals (and a Jimmy Watson for good measure), John Vickery is recognized as an inspiration and benchmark for many young (and old) winemakers. Highlights of his career include winning the 2007 Wolf Blass Riesling Award at the Canberra International Riesling Challenge. He was humbled to be judged by his peers as Australia’s Greatest Living Winemaker in a survey conducted by Epicure in 2003. But he considers his most rewarding contribution to the Australian Wine Industry, being the first to re-introduce the screw cap with the 1998 Richmond Grove Watervale and Barossa Rieslings. This was by any measure, the single most significant event in the improvement in the quality of Australian Riesling.

In 2007 John was awarded the Medal of Order of Australia for 'service to the wine industry as an oenologist, particularly through the development of innovative methods for Riesling production.'

"He’s in the same league as Max Schubert and other great winemakers, most of whom are known for their reds."

Jeffrey Grosset

Keeda Zilm Keeda Zilm

Keeda Zilm

Upon completion of her Oenology degree at the University of Adelaide in 2002, Keeda began work at O’Leary Walker Wines in the Clare Valley.

Her initial position as cellar hand quickly morphed into winemaker and before long she was managing the majority of the winery operations. In her role at OLW, she has overseen the fruit intake of Vickery Watervale Riesling since the first vintage in 2014. Now, after 16 years at OLW, Keeda has formally taken the helm of the Vickery winemaking team where her experience in Australia’s pre-eminent Riesling growing region is perfectly suited.

With many years experience working alongside John, Keeda is now the key custodian of the Vickery philosophy, style and technique. Her respect for this valuable tradition ensures that this extensive winemaking experience will continue to result in premier incarnations of Australian Riesling for generations to come.