Renowned winemaker Mike Hayes unveils new Sirromet Tempo Verita collection

CELEBRATION: Mike Hayes has marked 40 years in winemaking. Photo: Stacey Whitlock
CELEBRATION: Mike Hayes has marked 40 years in winemaking. Photo: Stacey Whitlock

SIRROMET director of viticulture Mike Hayes has unveiled five new organic, vegan wines to mark 40 years in the winegrowing business.

Mr Hayes said at a launch event on Wednesday that the Tempo Verita collection encompassed his ambition to grow wine varieties best suited to reducing the impacts of climate change.

The inaugural collection includes emerging European varieties Vermentino, Fiano, Lagrain, Saperavi and Montepulciano.

"The way forward is easy drinking, low alcohol wines, unoaked, unpretentious and consumer acceptable," he said.

Mr Hayes began his wine journey on December 11, 1979, when he began chipping weeds in a vineyard.

"At 5am ... dad kicked my bed and instructed me to make my lunch and tie the dog up to the chain," he said.

"Sitting on the seat of the tractor, with my left hand holding the chipping hoe and my right hand holding on for dear life as the terrain was quite rough, never did I imagine, 40 years later, I would have a wonderful career in the wine industry meeting men and women of such approbation."

He has worked in wine regions across the country including St George, the Mornington Peninsula, the Hunter Valley, Geelong, the Yarra Valley, Coonawarra, Clare Valley, Hawkes Bay, Marlborough, New England, the Scenic Rim and Western Downs.

In 2012 Mr Hayes was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to tour Europe and research wine grape varieties for a changing climate.

"I visited 50 wine regions and viewed 650 varieties, an experience I will never forget," he said.

"On my return from the Churchill Fellowship, I designed The Vineyard of the Future, a project I am proud of today, as it is not only visionary but essential for the survival of Queensland wine."

The multinational project aims to investigate and reduce the potential effects of climate change on winemaking in Australia.

Between 2006 and 2018, Mr Hayes made nearly 1380 wines from 46 varieties, more than 94 per cent of which were medal winners.

In 2014 he was awarded the Samuel Bassett Award for a significant contribution to the Queensland Wine Industry.

In 2017, Mr Hayes was the first Queensland-based winemaker to be nominated for ASVO Australian Winemaker of the Year, which he went on to win.

"The same year I was awarded Queensland Winemaker of the Year and I became President of Queensland Wine Industry Association," he said.

"In 2018, I was awarded Queensland Winemaker and Viticulturist of the year."

Mr Hayes started work at Sirromet in 2018 and is now the chief winemaker.

Head chef Mathew Fulford prepared a five-course degustation lunch menu to accompany the wines, including kingfish, suckling pig and duck.