Meet the Winemaker: Usher Tinkler

The third generation vigneron taking a modern approach to wine

Winemaking has a reputation of being a highly traditional industry, with a history spanning all the way back to the first person who enjoyed fermented fruit juice. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t Aussie winemakers who are reshaping the industry. 


Usher Tinkler is a third-generation vigneron in Hunter Valley, Australia’s oldest winemaking region, but he’s taking a modern approach to creating wines.  


“Usher is one of Hunter’s most adventurous winemaking guns, and we are excited to be able to offer his range of modern takes on Hunter Valley classics,” says our Cellar Director Christine Ricketts. And he’s certainly passionate about taking a modern approach to his tradition.


“There’s a lot of talk about natural and organic wines at the moment, and I think that’s reflected in the contemporary style of winemaking that we are trying to adhere to as well. It’s all about going back to basics, and really letting the grape variety and terroir shine,” he says. 

The heroes of the Hunter Valley - Shiraz and Semillon - have wonderful examples in Usher’s Ninth Fable range. 


This range of wines both celebrate the history of the Hunter Valley while embracing new ways. And the story behind the name of the range is pretty close to home.


 “In our family, it’s been a tradition for generations to name the first-born son Usher, so I am the ninth Usher in the family – hence the name, Ninth Fable,” he explained.


In 1841, his great grandfather Usher Tinkler left Ireland for Australia and started growing vines. For generations, the family sold their grapes to top Hunter wineries like Tyrrells and Mt Pleasant before deciding to go at it alone in 2014. Today, the family own 50 hectares of their own vineyards and use the grapes to make their own wines.


The Ninth Fable Semillon is more fruit-forward than your average Hunter Semillon with a zesty, crisp palate of mouth-watering citrus flavours. Whereas the Ninth Fable Hunter Shiraz, made from a vineyard planted in 1948, is a medium-bodied, rich and juicy wine that has undergone short ageing in older oak and has none of the traditional Hunter Valley Shiraz characters. The Shiraz grapes are hand-harvested for optimum flavour, resulting in a rich juicy palate full of ripe black mulberries. 


The Ninth Fable wines are available exclusively at Cellarmasters, you can find them here, and the Usher Tinkler cellar door in Pokolbin

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  • Hunter Valley