2017 Australian Winemaker of the Year, Mike Hayes is new chief winemaker at Sirromet

Sirromet Winery has appointed Mike Hayes to the new role of director of viticulture and chief winemaker.

Hayes, who has worked for Sirromet as director of viticulture and winery operations since July 2018 replaces Adam Chapman as chief winemaker who resigned earlier this month. With 40 years professional wine industry experience across 16 wine regions, 4 states and 2 countries, Hayes will team up with Jessica Ferguson, who has been promoted to the role of winemaker. Ferguson has 14 years winemaking experience with Sirromet and has been promoted from assistant winemaker to winemaker.

“I am thrilled to be announced as Sirromet’s new chief winemaker and look forward to working with Jessica and the winemaking team to lead Sirromet through this exciting new phase. Both Jessica and myself have similar philosophies behind winemaking, which is minimal intervention in the winery as the vineyard is where quality starts and great wines are grown,” said Hayes.

Hayes holds a Masters of Viticulture, is currently president of the Queensland Wine Industry Association, an Adjunct Professor at the University of Southern Queensland, wine judge at the Australian Small Winemakers Awards, and he was recently being awarded the Australian Society of Viticulture & Oenology (ASVO) Winemaker of the Year for 2017.

Ferguson is a qualified chemist with a varied career in food science and environmental science fields. In 2014, she graduated as Dux from a field of students completing the AWRI Advanced Wine Assessment Course and has graduated with distinction from Levels 1-3 of the globally recognised Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET). Ferguson has had wine show judging experience at both a regional and national level.

Hayes and Ferguson will continue to produce many of the traditional varietals for which Sirromet is well known and are excited to develop new alternatives for customers to enjoy. Expect to see emerging varietal champions such as Saperavi, Montepulciano, Lagrein, Vermentino and Fiano.

“Mike and I have had a long respectful working relationship over many years and I have great admiration for his achievements,” says Ferguson.

Hayes further adds: “Jessica has one of the best palates in the business and together I am very confident we will continue the great work that has been done with establishing Sirromet wines high quality reputation. Our aim is to build on this success and become globally recognised as one of the highest quality wine producers in the world”


Top photo: Mike Hayes

Photo below: Jessica Ferguson