Located in the New South Wales regional township of Yenda, Berton Vineyards was founded in 1996 by Bob and Cherie Berton. Berton Vineyards started out with the belief that a small group with a single-minded approach could build something special with nothing more than hard work and a combined ambition to succeed. Berton Vineyards is a contemporary winery with the attitude of doing everything to the best of their ability and succeeding by never disappointing. 

"We had a few supporters who believed in us – one was an importer, one was a local grape grower and most importantly a bank manager. They gave us the ability to begin, but also to believe in ourselves. From these humble beginnings, we moved into the Yenda winery in the Riverina in 2005," says Jamie Bennett, Managing Director at Berton Vineyards.

Berton Vineyards’ wines were recently awarded medals at the 2022 India Wine Awards, where the Black Shiraz took home a Gold. “We take great pride in building our brands from the bottom up, and our signature Black Shiraz is a wine we love to share with consumers around the world,” Jamie adds. Meanwhile, the Metal Durif and Metal Vermentino grabbed a Silver medal. 

Today, we’re in conversation with Jamie Bennett, who takes us through the life at Berton Vineyards and shares the uniqueness of the winery with us. 

Tell us a bit about your role.

I’m first generation so to speak, I walked through the gates the very first day we moved into our facility based in Yenda, a small country town located in the heart of the Riverina. Having now spent 23 years in the wine industry and with a background in finance, my role started as the Finance Director but with the recent retirement of my great mentor ‘Bob Berton’ I have moved into the Managing Directors role.

According to you, what makes a great wine?

Passion and heart are two key fundamentals to making wines, but without a doubt ‘knowledge’ of your fruit and processes is critical to getting the best result for every wine in your portfolio. 

What excites you the most about Berton Vineyards?

The future of the Berton’s brand is extremely exciting. Our drive is now focused on making wines in a more sustainable way. Our growth over the years has also allowed us to expand our vineyards, and we aim to continue to entrench ourselves as respected winemakers both domestically and internationally

What wine(s) do you consider your flagship, and why?

The ‘Black Shiraz’ - a true representation of an Australian Shiraz with unrestrained and generous flavours. With deep colour and a full-flavoured, intense palate, this wine also speaks for our determination and strength as a company.

Directors, Berton Vineyards (from left to right) -  Bob Berton, Jamie Bennett and James Ceccato

Can you tell us a little bit about your winemaking processes?

The key to our processes is our Winemaking Director James Ceccato spending countless hours in the Vineyards. His tireless work travelling from vineyard to vineyard throughout NSW, Vic and SA has paid great dividends as his knowledge of our fruit has helped us develop our styles and flourish as winemakers

What are some wine trends you see coming through in the near future?

Sustainability and eco-friendly wines are rapidly becoming more popular in the industry. Sustainable farming methods and adaption of logistical supply chains are to the forefront with the goal of more eco-sustainable solutions that will minimise overall carbon footprint.

What interests you most about the Indian wine market? What made you think, 'our wines should be here'?

The single most exciting thing about the Indian wine market is the fact it’s an emerging market and offers so much potential. We targeted this market back in 2018 as a great opportunity for our business and with patience we continue to develop our brand in this growing market.

And what's next for Berton Vineyards in the Indian market?

In partnership with our wonderful importers ‘Monika’ we will aim to make our brand a household name and gain recognition as a brand of great value and quality.

Berton Vineyards, Australia

How do you feel about winning a medal at the India Wine Awards 2022?

I was extremely proud to be present at the India Wine Awards this year, it felt like one of my children topped the class. It recognises all of the hard work and dedication our team put into making our wines. 

According to you, how do competition medals impact your brand?

The medals not only get press awareness and give us great exposure to customers and trade professionals, but it also provides all of the Berton team with affirmation we are doing okay. 

Lastly, Jamie, what are you drinking right now?

Metal Label 2022 Vermentino (Absolutely delicious…) – another outstanding wine that has had a successful year in wine competitions. 

Originally published November 25, 2022