ANDREW KOERNER – CHIEF WINEMAKER & CEO
Andrew Koerner joined Blue Pyrenees Estate in February 2004 bringing a passion for wine cultivated as a youngster growing up in Australia’s wine capital, Adelaide. Working his first vintage in 1987 at Hardy’s Renmano in Renmark and subsequently at Hardy’s Tintara in McLaren Vale, Andrew graduated in 1992 from the internationally renowned Roseworthy Campus of the University of Adelaide with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Oenology.
The following year Andrew was appointed assistant winemaker with the legendary Len Evans’ Rothbury Group, working at St Huberts in the Yarra Valley. After this group’s acquisition by Beringer Blass, Andrew was appointed winemaker at the historic Saltram winery in South Australia’s Barossa Valley where he worked for four years until he met Rosemount’s Phillip Shaw.
Inspired by Shaw’s approach and winemaking philosophy gleaned whilst show judging with Shaw, Andrew moved to Rosemount in 1999 where he was promoted to senior winemaker with responsibility for premium wines. With the merger of Southcorp and Rosemount in 2001, Andrew was appointed winemaker and winery manager of the Rosemount Denman winery.
Andrew’s accumulated experience across different wine regions, varieties and wine styles has reached its pinnacle at Blue Pyrenees Estate, with one respected wine-writer stating that under Andrew’s stewardship “the Blue Pyrenees wines are the best they have ever been.”
Andrew is a prominent and respected wine judge and panel leader on the Australian wine show circuit.
CHRIS SMALES – WINEMAKER
Chris grew up in the Western suburbs of Melbourne and, after leaving school and trying his hand at several occupations, decided that he wanted to see a bit of the world. His wine industry initiation dates back to London in the early 1990s and the influential retailer Oddbins where Chris spent four years discovering the diversity of the world’s best wines and studying towards the W.S.E.T Diploma.
Inspired by his experiences in London Chris went on to study Winemaking at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga and start a career that eventually led him to his current position as winemaker at Blue Pyrenees Estate. Previously, Chris was the winemaker at Virgin Hills and winemaker/ viticulturist at Goona Warra Vineyard, two other eminent central Victorian vineyards noted for their mature vineyards and classic red wines. Prior to that, various vintages have taken Chris to wineries in Coonawarra, and the Hunter and Yarra Valleys. He has been an integral part of the Blue Pyrenees winemaking team since 2002 and lives with his family in nearby Castlemaine.
Chris hopes for world peace, a Collingwood Premiership, and a Jimmy Watson Trophy.