Dr Tony Jordan Q and A with Michele Jordan
Monday, April 19, 2021 in News
We were fortunate to have a chance to find out more about the life in wine Dr Tony Jordan OAM from Michele Jordan, his wife. Michele shared some important notes about her late husband’s storied career and his love of and influence on wine.
How did you and Tony meet? Was it wine-related?
Tony and I met in May 1992 in London whilst I was working for Moët Hennessy. He came over to introduce Moët London to Green Point Sparkling wines and we met whilst he was in London at that time.
What were Tony's real passions in the wine industry?
Tony’s passions traversed all areas of the wine industry both in Australia and overseas. He set high standards for himself and expected the same of others. He ensured that he was always fully up to date with the latest information available and he loved to share his knowledge and learnings with younger up and coming wine people and became an inspiration for many.
Tony was at the forefront of the wine trade in the Himalayas. How much time did he spend there over the years? Did you ever visit with him?
In 2009, Tony made a visit to Northern Yunnan province on the Tibetan/Myanmar border. It was a treacherous six hour drive on unpaved roads.
In Dequin County, they found Cabernet being grown much to their surprise. This region which is situated at an altitude of 2200 metres with a very dry climate offered cool sites with protection from summer rainfall due to the orientation of the mountains and not too cold winters i.e. a temperature climate similar to Bordeaux and other good Cabernet areas of the world. They set up ten automatic weather stations in a number of vineyard sites which they could download via a mobile phone network and closely monitored the temperature, humidity, dew point, rainfall and wind data over the next two years. In 2011, the Dequin area was confirmed as the best choice for the Moët Hennessy Still Red wine project. There were four villages that they identified which provided sufficient vineyard area (Moët Hennessy leased 30 hectares of vines over 320 sites, the highest village being at 2600 metres at Adong where, in 2012, the construction of the Ao Yun winery commenced. The first harvest was in 2013 and was released in 2016.
Stephen Deng who accompanied Tony on these travels wrote: “Tony is highly respected in China’s wine industry and especially well-loved by his friends and contacts in Shangri-La (most of them Tibetans) due to his keen interest in Tibetan culture, his high level of professionalism and his pivotal role in bringing Shangri-La, a former wine backwater, to international recognition.”
Can you remember Tony's favourite ever wine?
A double magnum of 1865 Chateau Lafite that was the centrepiece of a Single Bottle Club Dinner held at Tower Lodge in November 2001. Tony was so impressed by this wine that he deliberately spilt some onto his dress shirt, which he then brought home and never washed. A trophy to this incredible wine.
Judging was also something close to Tony's heart. What were Tony's thoughts on how the show scene has improved Aussie wine over the years?
Tony firmly believed that the wine shows have contributed to improving wine quality in Australia. He always spoke with passion about the quality of the results and the standard of judging in Australia. He undertook a review of the best practices for Wine Shows on behalf of the ASVO in 2015 along with Dr Tony Robinson, where he encouraged rigorous practices for all shows but with some flexibility to allow individual shows to express their own character.
Where do you think Tony saw Aussie wine on a world scale?
Tony definitely considered Australian wine to be on par from a quality standpoint with anywhere in the world.
I'm sure you and Tony have consumed some lovely bottles in your time, what is the most memorable bottle you shared?
Sharing a bottle of Dom Perignon Rose 1985 on the eve of our wedding day in December 1998 on a very cold winter’s night in England eating freshly shucked oysters. We chilled the bottle outside in no time as it was 0°C.
What do you think was Tony's greatest achievement in wine?
Tony was foremost a scientist with an orderly, intellectual and enquiring mind. Perhaps he will be remembered for the way he shared his knowledge and mentored so many up and coming winemakers who were inspired by his enthusiasm for learning, quality of a job well done and tireless energy. Tony inspired people to follow new paths and dreams sharing with them his innate vision and giving them self belief.
If Tony hadn't ended up in wine, what could he have been?
Tony probably would have continued on as a scientist, perhaps in some sort of area of research, but he fell in love with wine back in the 60s whilst studying for his PhD at Sydney University and he never looked back.
Explore the Dr Tony Jordan OAM Collection auction here.