Dr Dylan Grigg - Consulting Viticulturist -
Advice that brings the science and practice of grape growing together in a way that can be understood.
Meristem viticulture has been providing advice and service since 2008. As a freelance viticulturist I am able to travel widely to learn, advise and share my passion and knowledge of viticulture. I am involved in grape growing across many diverse growing regions currently in 4 states and 11 growing regions within Australia in addition to overseas.
With over 25 years experience in viticulture I am proud to combine practical experience from working hands on in vineyards with a PhD level foundation in viticultural science. This allows me to deliver analysis and advice that's practical, considered and relevant.
I enjoy working with like minded people that share the same passion for the connection between environment, viticulture and wine making.
I am currently not taking on any new clients, if you would like to enquire or join the waitlist please get in touch via email below.
About me: The short version
(A longer version is below)
I have been involved in viticulture for more than 25 years. Over this time I have worked with a wide range of businesses, from large commercial operations to small estates across many growing regions in Australia and abroad. My focus is science forward and practical, aiming to achieve vine health and balance through soil health and seasonal management with respect to the local environment and conditions. I strongly encourage and practice organic farming along with practices that support the system, not just the vine. I have broad experience in a range of climates with a wide range of varieties.
My doctoral thesis focused on grapevine age and quality measurements among some of the oldest vines in the world, so naturally old vines are an area of special interest for me personally and professionally. This extends to working and caring for my own old vine Grenache vineyard in the deep sands of Vine Vale in the Barossa Valley.
I have a constant craving for knowledge and experience, we still have so much to learn about our environment. I enjoy both asking questions and seeking answers and learning from others experiences. My practical viticulture skills stem from starting at the bottom, I have many hours of driving tractors, training vines and walking rows combined with university qualification at a PhD level in viticulture. I am honest approachable and always happy to discuss viticulture and wine.
About: The long version.
I grew up in the Barossa Valley in South Australia, soon after finishing high school I found work pruning in my home town of Lyndoch as the sole employee of a small estate. Here I worked in all areas of farming as is required on a small vineyard, during this time I studied viticulture at the local technical college. I was included our consultants meetings and encouraged to understand technical aspects of viticulture they gave me Viticulture 1 & 2 (Coombe and Dry), Sunlight into Wine (Smart), and Soil, Irrigation and Nutrition (Phil Nicholas) which opened my eyes to technical viticulture.
This gave me experience that allowed me to progress into a larger company in the Barossa Valley solely focused on viticulture. Here I obtained many many tractor hours with a range of equipment in both old and young vineyards, I was involved in the establishment and maintenance of hundreds of hectares of vineyards. This provided valuable management experience and gave me desire to learn even more. While based in the Barossa Valley I was responsible for the companies cool climate Adelaide Hills vineyards working mainly with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Working in cooler climate viticulture was a challenge as the windows of opportunity for tasks is much narrower and the conditions generally more challenging.
This management challenge found me wanting more knowledge and understanding of the processes within the plant. I gave up my day job and attended the University of Adelaide to obtain a Bachelors degree in science (B.Sc Viticulture) graduating in 2006. While studying at university I worked as a junior viticulture consultant with a leading Australian viticulture consultant (Di Davidson) and also in the viticulture laboratory of Dr Peter Dry as a research assistant to Dr Cassandra Collins and Dr Mardi Longbottom.
After graduating I moved to New Zealand to work on Waiheke island for Man O War wines for the harvest and pruning season. In late 2007 I moved to Melbourne to begin work in the lively and challenging Yarra Valley in Victoria. In 2008 meristem viticulture was founded, working across the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and Strathbogie ranges both consulting and having a home base as permanent viticulturist with Mac Forbes wines. This was an exciting time to be in the Yarra Valley as many young producers were pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo. Working with Mac Forbes for 7 years was a challenge and an excellent experience to truly strive to understand the finer details of individual growing sites. This gave the opportunity to follow fruit from many small parcels through the whole wine making process to single vineyard bottlings, being involved in blending and tasting as a valued member of the team has been a highlight of my working career.
In 2014 with a young family a move back to South Australia allowed continued consulting in the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula while establishing a new network of clients in the Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Eden Valley and Adelaide Hills and more broadly overseas in Spain and Italy.
The thirst for greater knowledge and understanding again drew me into the University of Adelaide and the mentorship of Dr Cassandra Collins, to attain a doctorate in viticulture. My doctoral thesis investigated how grapevine age influences many aspects from grapevine growth to wine quality. This study was based near my home town in the Barossa and Eden Valleys incorporating some of the worlds oldest known Shiraz vines (>170 years old). This was a multidisciplinary study covering vine performance, grape chemical composition and sensory analysis as well as wine chemical, sensory and metabolomic analysis in addition to vine genetic and epigenetic analysis. I was awarded a doctorate with deans merit in 2017.
During my PhD studies I continued to consult to some leading winemakers and producers as the connection between vine and wine is what really drives me. Upon completion of I was offered a unique opportunity and challenge to live and work in Spain. I relocated to Spain to oversee viticulture of a family owned winery with over 170Ha under vine across many individual parcels in north east Catalonia. Here my role was overseeing all viticultural management with a focus on vineyard and soil rejuvenation, replanting and organic conversion of old vineyards in a unique Mediterranean environment.
In 2020 I returned home to South Australia, while continuing to consult in Europe. I have retained and built on a network of exciting progressive clients in 5 states across Australia. While based in the Adelaide Hills and Barossa Valley, I also work in Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia across a number of high quality wine regions. My freelance viticultural advice and practical knowledge are highly sought-after, this sees me in demand forging meaningful and productive relationships with a range of great people and wine businesses.
I have a deep passion for viticulture and wine and will continue to search for opportunities and relationships that are honest, true and challenging in my line of work.