MARTIN WILLIAMS PHD, MW
Since his arrival in the Yarra Valley in 1992, Martin Williams has established a strong presence in both the Victorian and broader Australian wine scenes. Through his educational and consultancy work, his extensive wine show judging experience and his involvement in the Australian branch of the international Institute of Masters of Wine, Martin’s profile extends well outside southern Victoria, throughout the Australian industry and beyond.
After studying Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Sydney, Martin completed his Masters in Oenology and Viticulture at the University of California, Davis in 1991. By this stage he had travelled and worked widely in various wine regions of Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the United States, accumulating broad-ranging winemaking experience on three continents before settling in the Yarra Valley, with Tarrawarra Estate, in 1992. In particular, Martin’s work in 1988-89 with Domaine Tollot-Beaut and Domaine Anne Gros in Burgundy influenced him deeply, and infused him with a particular passion for the varieties Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Locally, Martin worked with Hardy’s, Rosemount, Petaluma and McWilliam’s prior to his stint with Tarrawarra, as well as Yarra Valley Hills and Virgin Hills between 1995 and 2000.
In 1999, Martin sat and passed the UK-based Master of Wine examination, meeting a challenge and fulfilling a dream to acquire a truly comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the many facets of the world of wine. His achievement was further reinforced by way of his acceptance as a Scholar in the 2002 Len Evans Tutorial Programme which, along with the AWRI Wine Judging course, equipped him as a judge within the Australian Show system. He went on to accumulate extensive Wine Show judging experience at major capital and regional shows over eight years from 2000.
From 2000 until early 2007, Martin was a partner and director of Master Winemakers, a premium contract winemaking facility situated on the edge of the Yarra Valley on the outskirts of Melbourne. Meanwhile, he contributed substantially to both vineyard establishment and wine production for Caledonia Australis, the burgeoning South Gippsland estate that has achieved tremendous accolades from critics and consumers alike since its debut release in 2002. In the background, Martin quietly worked on his own Métier and Milkwood brands, pioneering single-vineyard designated Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Shiraz in the Yarra Valley and southern Victoria.
In February 2007, following the sale of the Master Winemakers winery to Hardy’s (now Accolade Wines), Martin took a brief break from wine to commence studies towards a PhD in Medicinal Chemistry at Monash University. After completing his doctorate in 2012, Martin continued in biomedical research until the call of wine led him back to the industry in 2015.