Take a look at this picture. This lovely, happy, smiling face of Chris is when he WAS the Chief Judge at the Rutherglen Wine Show and Australian Fortified Wine Show this year, 2019.
This was Chris’s last year. He has been “’The Chief” since 1986, and had been judging wines as a Wine Show Judge at many different locations throughout Australia, for many years before that.
Chris has handed the baton for Rutherglen, to Russell Cody from McWilliam’s Wines. Chris believes it is time to give the younger ones the opportunity and...just between you and me...seeing his birthday next year has a ‘0’ on the end of it...the timing is just right. I am sure you will agree it is a lovely photo. By the way, Wine Show Judges always wear laboratory coats (lab coats), to protect their clothing from wine spills and misfired spits into a “slops” bucket after assessing 120-150 wines each day!!!!! People are always envious of this job but it is REALLY HARD WORK, needing masses of concerted and disciplined concentration.
Chris’s career in wine began with wine being a hobby. How lucky was he to turn his hobby into his career? Pretty quickly his Agricultural Science Degree took a right hand turn when his thesis was written on the Effects of Trickle Irrigation on Grapevines. Next came the choice of job offers but Lindeman’s won the day with their Viticultural job. However, Chris was asked to help out in the winery with the vintage of 1974 at their Corowa Cellars. After 3 months, his natural palate (an inherited characteristic which luckily Jen has inherited from him), caused Lindeman’s to offer Chris a new opportunity. Why not become a Winemaker and get another degree in Wine Science at Charles Sturt University? Well, why not? This was a dream come true and his hobby definitely started to become his career. Time marches on and Lindeman’s moved us to each and every one of their winery locations within Australia. Chris said this was the best apprenticeship he could have ever experienced, working alongside the greats of the Australian wine industry during those times. It certainly equipped him for starting our own winery business in 1984.
Pretty rapidly Chris became involved in industry politics and more importantly, industry promotions. Chris was the first Chairman of the Winemakers of Rutherglen. He held that position for 22 years.
He also chaired the Victorian Wine Industry Association and received the Distinguished Service Award in 2007 for his years of voluntary work for our wine industry within Victoria.
He also proudly wears his OAM, which he was awarded in 2012 for his service to the Australian Wine Industry. His work for the industry as a whole continues to this day with his presence on the Australian Grape and Wine Board reporting at Federal Government level.
As consumers, I guess you can’t imagine the lobbying and political stuff that goes on to protect our industry that we are so proud of and keen to protect for you, as well as for ourselves. I also guess we probably don’t know or understand all the stuff that goes on behind the scenes in your jobs either. That is what life is like, isn’t it? We travel along day by day caught up in the comfort and sometimes, discomfort of our own world. Well, I know I do anyway.
However, let’s get back to the smiley bearded one in this article. Chris continues to work “in and on” our own business of Pfeiffer Wines. He continues to contribute to our broader wine community. He helps Jen as required. When people ask him what it means to be “Senior Winemaker”, he replies, “when the Winemaker, (Jen) says “JUMP,” you ask, “how high?” We couldn’t be without him and we are so happy to see him happy, fulfilling his life’s passion, his life’s hobby, WINE.