An introduction to Kym Milne (Bird in Hand Wines)
Kym has worked in the wine industry for over 30 years. A winemaking graduate of Roseworthy College in Australia, he worked initially as a winemaker in Australia, before moving to New Zealand for a nine year stint as Chief Winemaker for Villa Maria winery from 1983 to 1992.
In 1991 he qualified as a Master of Wine (MW), becoming only the second Australian to pass the exam.
In 1992 Kym moved to Europe, and then to the UK where he became Director of Winemaking Operations for UK importer International Wine Services, and for the next ten years ran winemaking projects throughout Europe, South Africa and North and South America producing wine for the UK market.
In 2003 he moved back to Australia, and now has his own consultancy company Global Wine Solutions, working with wineries in Australia and around the world. His main role is as Chief Winemaker of the highly acclaimed Bird in Hand winery in the Adelaide Hills wine region. Other current consultancy clients include Rustenberg Winery (South Africa), Errazuriz winery (Chile), Craggy Range Winery (New Zealand), Anvers Wines, Bimbadgen Wines and Wangolina Wines (Australia).
He has extensive international wine show judging experience, and is currently Chairman of Judges at the Sydney International Wine Competition.
In December 2013 Kym was listed in the Top 10 Most Influential Winemaking Consultants worldwide by The Drinks Business Magazine (UK).
Winestate Magazine awarded Kym the 2015 Australian Winemaker of the Year for the 2nd year in a row b
ased on the success of Bird in Hand wines in their tastings over the year. Bird in Hand also won the 2015 Winery of the Year and the 2015 Wine of the Year from Winestate, the first time a winery had won all three of the top awards.
Kym now resides in the Adelaide Hills, with his New Zealand born wife, three English born sons, and three dopey dogs!
Favourite drink apart from Wine?
Developed a taste for English bitter whilst living in the UK in the 90’s. A fresh Fullers London Pride, Timothy Taylors Landlord in particular, but generally most bitters.
How did you get into the Wine Trade?
Came across it as a career option in my last year of high school due to an enthusiastic organic Chemistry teacher who enjo
yed his wine. Then took a gap year before going to University and worked in a couple of wineries and caught the bug.
Best bit about being a winemaker?
Variety. No vintage is the same as another. Opportunity to travel and see the world. My favourite part of winemaking is at blending time on the tasting bench – looking at how all the different components fit together.
Worst/most embarassing moment in your wine making career?
1988 vintage in New Zealand my worst vintage. Cyclone Bola dropped 16 inches of rain on the vineyards just as harvest started,
and we couldn’t get on to pick for days due to flooding and the botrytis took off. Making drinkable wine out of that vintage was a real challenge.
Embarrassing moments – being confident you know what a wine is in a blind tasting and to be completely wrong – happens to everyone!
Hardest part in becoming a Master of Wine?
Finding the time to taste the number of wines required to pass the practical exam whilst holding down a full-time job.
Favourite wine (not one of yours!)?
Chardonnay in its many forms – in particular great White Burgundy
Most under-rated grape?
Malbec – an excellent blending variety.
Gewurztraminer – makes outstanding white wines but commercially very difficult to sell.
Most exciting up and coming wine country?
England. I’ve recently tasted a couple of excellent sparkling wines from England, and with global warming more styles will be possible.
If you could invite 5 guests to a dinner party – who would they be?
Assuming the dinner is at my house and my wife and 3 sons were present, the 5 guests would be:
Edward Milne – my Grandfather. I would love my boys to have met him.
Yuval Noah Singh – recently read his 2 books “Sapiens” & “Homo Deus”. If he can write such interesting books surely would be an interesting guest.
Billy Connolly – fascinating character and would keep everyone entertained.
David Pocock – Australian rugby player and social activist.
Nelson Mandela – no explanation needed.
Most unusual food pairing you have experienced?
Latte di Tonno (Tuna sperm) fritters and chilled Catarratto white wine. A Sicilian speciality.
Deep fried Chrysalis and a cold beer in China also takes some beating.
Favourite restaurant in the World?
Anywhere with good food and good company. Due Corte in Lecce, Puglia with the Cantele family if still exists. Rustic local Pugliese dishes
and great company.
Advice to anyone wanting to get into the wine industry?
If you have the passion, go for it.
If you weren’t a winemaker you would be…?
No idea….. Brewer, Sports Commentator.