Introducing Kym Teusner…and asking him 20 questions
Growing up the son of a sheep farmer in the riverside town of Tailem Bend in South Australia, Kym Teusner couldn’t envision a life for himself that involved sheep. Keen to fly the nest as soon possible, he headed to Adelaide straight out of high school to study business management. Working in restaurants to pay his way through university, the wonders of wine were soon discovered. Completely hooked on this newfound favorite drink, any spare time available became devoted to studying the stuff!
Whilst life in the hospitality game presents plenty of obvious attractions to a 20 something year old country kid living in the big smoke, the country lifestyle was calling…especially when he’d met a Barossa girl who would become his wife! The idea of owning a restaurant or bar in the Barossa briefly crossed his mind, but with the numbers not stacking up and a bit of light ‘self-analysis’ telling him to follow his heart, it was back to university to study winemaking.
1. First car?
A beautiful, mustard colored, 1974 2 door Toyota Corolla that had such shit suspension that every time I got in behind the wheel, the driver’s side of the car would lurch over and bottom out.
2. First concert?
Guns ‘n Roses at Calder Park Raceway in Melbourne.
3. First wine?
Rockford Rifle Range Cabernet Sauvignon.
4. Favourite music? Favourite food? Favourite wine
I find it impossible to declare a favourite of anything. What can be my favourite music, food, wine or whatever one day can equally be something I hate the very next day if my mood changes. I’m just happy to see what each new day brings!
5. Favourite bevvy other than wine?
Has to be beer. What a wonderfully diverse beverage…especially when served ice cold at the Valley Hotel in Tanunda!
6. What’s there to love about being a winemaker?
What’s not to love? Most days it’s like being a boy that gets to play in muddy puddles. The variability of the job is fantastic – one day I’m slopping around in gumboots and red wine and the next day I’m dining in the best restaurants in the country. Being able to work with growers who have been at their trade for 6 or more generations and make wonderful wine from their produce is also very gratifying.
7. What achievement as a winemaker are you most proud of?
Bringing the light back to some of our growers who had been beaten down so much by the big corporates that they’d forgotten there’s a fun side of growing grapes and making wine.
8. If you weren’t a winemaker, what else would you like to do?
Race V8 supercars.
9. In your mind, what counts when it comes to making great wine?
Great dirt, an awesome climate to grow great grapes, Passion, fun and belief in your own style.
10. What’s the greatest wine you’ve ever drunk?
How to pick just one?
11. If you could drink a glass of your own wine, what would it be, what would you eat with it, what would be the ideal location and who would you drink it with?
Have to be the 2006 Righteous Mataro, with slow smoked brisket, around a campfire on the banks of the Murray River, with any of my family and friends that wanted to join in.
12. What brings you pleasure?
The smiles on my kids’ faces.
13. What is your greatest extravagance?
My life in general.
14. Who are your heroes in real life?
I’ve found that heroes lose their shine when you get to know them.
15. What do you love about the Barossa?
The overwhelming sense of community and the pride that this evokes in the people that choose to live here. The amazing heritage and history that survives today in the food culture and belief systems. The fact that the Barossa is home to some of the oldest vines in the world.
16. What are your Top 3 tips for anyone visiting the Barossa?
Spend longer. Go slower. Do your research and source out the unknowns.
17. Who would be your desert island trio?
A brewer, a butcher and a baker. (Is it wrong that I didn’t say my wife and 2 kids?)
18. If you could meet someone famous, who would it be and what would you say to them?
Nick Cave. Meet you at the Valley Hotel for a swifty?
19. Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever found a bottle of Teusner?
Being presented to Barack Obama on his recent visit to Australia.
20. What’s magic about Teusner Wines?
The passion, the truth and commitment to those that support us, the fun that is inherent in our lifestyle. The Growers that allow us access to their amazing fruit.