As with most people who travel extensively, there’ve been a few perilous moments in Nic Peterkin’s life but he remembers the hairiest as working at Casa Madero. The oldest winery in the Americas, it’s situated in a fertile stretch of land in Parras de la Fuente in Mexico.
The region borders the unofficial drug route between Mexico and the US, and in 2012 when Nic was there learning about wine, homicides by drug cartels were at an all-time high, with bodies were being strung up on bridges and uncovered in mass graves.
But while it was a world away from his idyllic childhood spent between Margaret River and Perth, the former St George’s College resident valued his time there ‘sweeping floors, cleaning tanks, crushing grapes and filling barrels’. “It was all part of learning the language of winemaking,” he says.
The lessons paid off, with Nic named Gourmet Traveller Young Winemaker of the Year in 2016 for what was described by the judges as “startling creativity” in his winemaking approach.
His LAS Vino wines are now being shipped to London, Tokyo and Singapore and poured in some of the best bars and restaurants in Australia.
“LAS stands for Luck, Art, Science,” Nic says.
The art of creating wine from what is essentially water and sunlight; the luck of the weather, wind and water during vintage; and the science, well, it all comes down to the science of creating.
And his favourite drop? “I like a nice beer, to be honest,” he laughs.
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