Meet Richard Leask of Hither & Yon
What drew you to the wine business?
I was born into farming and viticulture, studied and travelled along the same path when I was younger, and then on the way fell in love with wine as well! Wine is an expression of what we do on the land and allows a window into our family and farming philosophy. There are so many great people involved in the industry as well, it keeps driving the fun and interesting side of daily work, it’s always different.
You and your brother Malcolm run Hither & Yon together – what’s the best part about working with family?
We don’t worry so much about the business side – if we feel good about our process, it can be just as much about health and lifestyle. Both of our families are involved in the business – there is something special about all working together and living off our land. We are only second generation, so we still have a long way to go, no hurry at all.
How did you come up with the name Hither & Yon?
As you can imagine the name didn’t come easily! It was a big step for us to create our own 100% family brand. Hither & Yon
, meaning “here and over there” is a combination of a number of thought processes. It draws on our family’s heritage from Scotland, it helps describe the rolling and sometimes hidden nature of McLaren Vale
and our vineyards, and also our own slightly wayward and relaxed nature. We had great help from our design agency and our own team, we are all proud of it.
A big focus of Hither & Yon’s approach to winemaking includes sustainable grape growing, can you tell us more about this?
All of the fruit we use for Hither & Yon is from our own vineyards.We are still predominantly grapegrowers for other brands, but we are sustainable across all of our blocks because we believe this is the best way to enhance the future of our land.
Sustainable Winegrowing Australia was firstly an initiative of the McLaren Vale Association and we were proudly part of the first members of it. It is a program which encompasses many areas, such as soil health and nutrition, biodiverslty, water and waste management, social impacts. For us we have seen great improvement in the quality of our fruit, buyer relationships, overall vineyard health and our own teams engagement.
What makes McLaren Vale such a great place to live (besides the fact it’s ideal for winemaking)?
Community involvement, amazing location near beaches and hills, great local produce, and an ideal maritime climate to enjoy it all!
What have been some of your highlights of your time at Hither & Yon?
We have done quite well with the quality of wines, also the branding and marketing has gained attention. Hither & Yon has created its own community of partners in non-wine industry as well such as arts, music, food. Overall, no single highlight but the pleasing things are the devoted customers we are gaining all the time, and our own team’s involvement in the journey so far.
The Hither & Yon Grenache Mataro 2016 is our Wine of the Month for May – what makes this a standout wine?
I think it’s an expression of the modern and traditional side of McLaren Vale – a Grenache driven wine from older vines, but made in a way which is really pretty and approachable while young, with Mataro providing the food friendly tannins. Juicy, medium bodied, but with strcture of depth of fruit which will suit ageing also.
Other than your own wine, what wine do you like to drink at home?
I tend to gravitate to the smaller producers like ourselves who are trying different varieties and different styles of traditional favourites, anyone that’s having a crack like us really!
What’s your ultimate wine and food match?
For me it’s more about the company I’m with rather than the wine, but it would be hard to go past a McLaren Vale Grenache with some of our home grown lamb chops and vegies from my wife Sharon’s garden…perfect.
What is your favourite…
Movie? Braveheart – a nod to the Scottish heritage
Book? Anything by Tim Winton – his ability to communicate “place” is pure genius
Time of day? Sunrise – all the possibilities
Restaurant? Anything that is strong on local and seasonal ingredients