Chris Zur - Vineyard Manager
Chris Zur grew up by the ocean in New South Wales and wanted to be a pro surfer. Either that or a cop. Nowadays the closest he gets to a policeman’s beat are the vineyards, which he patrols with pride. He first gained an interest in wine when visiting his brother-in-law’s Margaret River property in the late 1980s, and when the opportunity arose to work at Ferngrove in 1998, he didn’t need asking twice. Having been here since the outset, he’s developed an intimate appreciation of each block’s subtleties.
He’s particularly excited by the quality of the Shiraz, Cabernet and Riesling – indeed, the 2002 Ferngrove Cossack Riesling is the best wine he’s ever tasted. As well as austere, steely Rieslings, Chris leans towards full-bodied, barrel-fermented, cool-climate reds. He loves the isolation and simple life of Frankland River, whose forgiving climate enables the vines to produce consistently good, opulent, fruit-driven wines.
Marco Pinares - Senior Winemaker
Marco Pinares is a born-and-bred Chilean farm boy. He grew up expecting to step into his parents’ shoes, gradually acquiring a well-fed wife, 10 kids and a lazy, crossbred dog. As it is, he’s wound up a long way from the farm as part of the happy family that craft Ferngrove and Killerby Wines. What changed it all was an introduction to viticulture and oenology during his Agriculture degree back in Chile. Before he knew it, he’d spent so much time daydreaming about winemaking that there was no other option but to pursue it as a career.
Marco is a true team player who loves the collective commitment to quality that pours into his wines. The isolation of Western Australia makes you stop and smell the roses more often and Marco loves those autumn mornings when you’re suddenly struck by how nature changes. He’s also driven by the challenge of having to deliver a wide range of wines, all of them aiming to satisfy demanding markets. An optimistic sort, his motto in life is: Never check the change, always think it’s more.
Marelize Russouw - Senior Winemaker
Born and raised on a farm in South Africa’s Western Cape region, Marelize Russouw dreamt of being a farmer just like her dad. But it was the farm’s vineyards that fuelled her passion for the land and shaped her future. After completing a degree in Viticulture and Oenology at the University of Stellenbosch, Marelize worked at Darling Cellars, Mulderbosch and L’Ormarins in South Africa before making the jump across to New Zealand and California to gain further experience.
Marelize admits she has fallen in love with the Frankland River region, taking its isolation as an opportunity to immerse herself in the winery, learning from the team and discovering more about the region. You’ll find the Cossack Riesling in her fridge, ready to enjoy with good friends and great food. When she’s not making award winning wines Marelize enjoys her newest passion, baking – matched to Ferngrove wines no doubt!
Andrew Blythe - Sales and Marketing Manager
Andrew Blythe started out in wine more than 20 years ago, with a role at John Coppins Wine Merchants. He enjoyed a rapid ascent that led to his appointment as Global Sales and Marketing Manager for the Palandri Wine Group in WA, which he joined at inception in 2001 before moving to Ferngrove in 2009. Now serving as Group Sales and Marketing Manager, he has always been unstinting in his passion and support for Western Australian wine.
He believes Frankland River is special for its remoteness, diversity of varieties and wine styles, which have a distinctive lightness of touch combined with ripeness of fruit – an unusual combination among Australian wine growing regions. What drives Andrew is the satisfaction of working with a great team, being involved with great wines from some of Australia best grape-growing territory and seeing consumers enjoy the fruits of the team’s labour.