"Located in South Australia's Barossa Valley, we are inspired by the characters, the history and vineyards of this great wine region."
History and People
After managing a B&B in the south of France, Martin and Vivienne Rawlinson were inspired to establish St John’s Road in 2001, with a vision to produce full flavoured, yet elegant, wines which reflect the essence of the Barossa.
Custodianship of St John’s Road now rests with Phil Lehmann, Jonathon Hesketh, Dale Wyman and a variety of Barossa wine growing families. Their aim is to uphold Martin and Vivien’s vision of producing wines that are not only true to the Barossa, but also the sub districts and vineyards they are grown in.
Phil Lehmann - Senior Winemaker
As the youngest son of two Barossa icons - Margaret and Peter Lehmann - Phil Lehmann's path into the Australian wine industry may have been somewhat predetermined. Initially weathering the irresistible pull of the wine industry, Phil took a detour from wine and completed an Honours Degree in Electrical Engineering at Adelaide University, intermingled with a few harvest stints with his family’s business at Peter Lehmann Wines.
The 'allure' of a career in Electrical Engineering was short-lived and Phil could no longer ignore what had always been there, and set off on a 2 year international winemaking pilgrimage throughout Napa, Stellenbosch and Burgundy.
It was during his time he realised wine could be far more than simply a drink, or a job, but rather an elemental part of a rich life tapestry, weaving the seasons, culture, people and history of a region, and ultimately a greatly fulfilling life. After heading back to Australia, Phil promptly completed formal winemaking study with a graduate diploma in Oenology at the University of Adelaide.
For the next ten years, Phil worked a number of vintages as a winemaker at Yalumba, and again in the family business, Peter Lehmann Wines, as well as with Kym Teusner at Teusner Wines.
The lure of joining the Hesketh Family, who's patriarch Robert was instrumental in the 1979 creation of Peter Lehmann Wines (originally Mastersons), and the opportunity to build on the solid winemaking foundations of St John's Road Barossa proved too compelling, and in July 2013, Phil joined St John's Road as our Senior Winemaker.
Charlie Ormsby - Winemaker
Despite growing up with an active interest in wine thanks to a connoisseur family, Charlie Ormsby initially decided to follow a conventional path and study History and English at Adelaide University. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in the mid 90’s he pursued the career path of librarian for a couple of years before realising the demand for historians was never going to be great.
His first vintage at Peter Lehmann Wines in 1998 saw him immediately hooked on the excitement and atmosphere of the cellar. He stayed on at PLW for the following 12 years eventually becoming senior cellar hand and working closely alongside Phil Lehmann for five vintages.
With his degree now well and truly ‘history’, he gave in to the industry lure and travelled over to California to work a vintage at Blackstone in Gonzales. Still enticed by the wine making dream Charlie started up at Teusner Wines, in the Barossa, as cellar manager where he learnt extensively from a very hands on Kym Teusner; a role again in conjunction with Phil.
With both Charlie and Phil sharing a synonymous view on winemaking it seemed inevitable that they would again team up; this occurred early in 2014 when Charlie became the second winemaker in the St Johns Road Barossa team.
James Lienert - Winemaker
James was born and raised on a farm in the Gomersal/Sheaoak Log region of the Barossa Valley, an area well populated by Lienerts thanks to James’ large family.
Working to his strengths, and interests, James enrolled in a Bachelor of Science (Organic and Inorganic Chemistry) at the University of Adelaide, following high school. With winemaking as his second preference he jumped at the offer of an honours position in wine chemistry, seeing this as a valuable step in the right direction. The endless hours in a “windowless lab” confirmed to James that, regardless of his love for chemistry, the Mad Professor life was not for him! The allure of winemaking (and being outdoors) proved irresistible, and to cement this decision, James completed a Masters in Oenology in 2011 - 2012.
Amongst all this study James has still managed to fit in 14 vintages at wine regions around the world. Following his first stint at Penfolds in 2008 he has since completed vintages in New Zealand, USA and Germany, now finding himself back in his hometown working alongside Phil Lehmann and Charlie Ormsby as winemaker for St John’s Road.
Warwick Murray - Viticulturist
Warwick Murray came to the Barossa in 1998 for a vintage job and has never found a reason to leave. Being inherently outdoorsy, it seemed only natural that he should find himself working out amongst the vines as a viticulturist.
Wazza has a strong passion for soil husbandry and credits the success of high-quality vineyards to the soil/plant balance of the vines; believing the rest will take its course if these important elements are adhered to.