Growing up on a farm gave Tom a great sense for the outdoors, something which has shaped where he is today; working as the Vineyard Manager at Claim 431 in Central Otago. Tom spent holidays helping with the sheep, cattle, crops and from 1998, in the family vineyards in Central Victoria, Australia. “We grew Shiraz, Pinot Gris, Merlot, Cabinet Sauvignon and Zinfandel and my job was to assist with planting the young vines and later pruning over the school holidays”. Tom studied Winemaking at La Trobe University and continues to further his viticulture science knowledge by distance from Charles Sturt University, Victoria. After studying wine, he spent time in Europe travelling and enjoyed working a vintage at a small boutique winery in Burgundy sorting fruit. On his return to Australia, Tom settled in Mildura and worked for Deakin Estate managing pest management and irrigation control for a year in their vineyards. Tom then continued the path of Cellar Hand and worked at Tahbilk Winery in the Goulburn Valley, Victoria. From here he made the call to focus on Viticulture and started as an Assistant Viticulture Manager at Giant Steps, an Australian company that focuses on producing distinct expressions of special, individual sub-regional vineyards. Within a short twelve months Tom was promoted to Vineyard Manager. Tom’s recent move to Central Otago is fuelled by his obsession with world class Pinot Noir and he believes Central Otago has the perfect growing conditions for the variety. Tom’s favourite time of year is vintage. “It is the most rewarding time of year, where you see all your hard work and efforts that were put in over the season, pay off,” Tom said.