An interview with Russell Johnstone

Photo: John Krüger

Russell Johnstone has had a long career in the Australian grape and wine industry since it began in the early 1980s.

His postings have included vineyard nursery manager for Yalumba, vineyard manager for St Hallett Wines, AWRI/CSIRO viticulturist, senior viticulturist at Orlando Wyndham and group viticulturist for Pernod Ricard.

After his time at Pernod Ricard, Russell started his own wine industry consultancy, Winecycle, and during his career has actively contributed to various industry advisory boards.

Along with Prue Henschke, he was elected a Fellow of the Australian Society of Viticulture & Oenology in 2022 — a distinction the ASVO awards from its membership to those who have been members for at least 10 years and made a “particularly outstanding and meritorious contribution to the grape and wine industry”.

Prue and Russell were announced as Fellows at the ASVO’s Awards for Excellence at the end of last year. Winetitles Media’s Sonya Logan was invited by the ASVO to interview Russell.

In this previously unpublished interview, New Zealand-born Russell talks about what led him to move to Australia, his involvement in the growth of the Jacob’s Creek brand during a major expansion in Australia’s vineyard area, his key career influencers and how came to taste the protype of Rockford’s iconic Basket Press Shiraz.



Are you a Daily Wine News subscriber? If not, click here to join our mailing list. It’s free!