Owen & Fergus Elias
Balfour Winery, Kent
Owen Elias is a long-standing and renowned winemaker in the GB wine industry of nearly 30 years. He spent 20 years at Chapel Down – ten years as Head Winemaker and Director of wines (and Curious Brew). In the last 10 years he has been working as a consultant winemaker at Balfour Winery, Nutbourne and Defined wines, dipping into occasional winery design and viticultural projects. Fergus is now Balfour Winery’s resident winemaker having worked at Balfour Winery for the last 6 years (almost to the day).
Says Owen: “I enjoy working with Fergus he is kind, tolerant and diplomatic, qualities which he has not been taught by me . It helps that he is also a very good, thoughtful and inventive winemaker.”
Fergus adds: "On working together: It’s actually quite good fun, we’re both a bit odd which works well and I'm fluent in mumble which appears to be what dad speaks almost exclusively. As a rule, though, we get on well and don’t disagree too often! We each have our views on the wines we’re making and the direction they're going and these views have worked in quite a complimentary manner. My only gripe is the condition of the lab after he’s been “experimenting”.
On what have you learnt from your Dad: "Dad taught me a lot about cellar work from how not to use a filter to really basic stuff like how to use a pump. However it's really been in the last 18 months to two years that I’ve learned most from him. From managing the cellar to his winemaking philosophy. I’m really rather enjoying it."