Melbourne born and bred, Alex MacKenzie discovered his passion for wine when he was 16, whilst living in the Rhône Valley as an exchange student with a French family. Inspired by the art and mystique of wine production, Alex spent a year backpacking through France appreciating the Gallic respect for fine food and wine.
Returning to Australia, Alex decided in 1996 to pursue a course in Viticulture at University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus. During this time, Alex worked in the cellar at Tintara, McLaren Vale.
Completing the course in 2000, he returned to France to work a vintage at Maison M. Chapoutier, one of France’s most respected producers and a pioneer of the region. During this vintage, Alex was exposed to bio-dynamic and organic viticultural practices and the role they take in handling super-premium fruit, inspiring Alex to apply alternative and sustainable viticultural practices and minimal handling techniques in the vineyard, preferring instead to let nature take its course.
On return to Australia and under the guidance of many noted winemaking mentors, Alex completed the 2001 vintage in the Clare Valley. From 2002-04, while still working with Annie’s Lane, Alex worked vintages and completed trial work within the Coonawarra and Barossa wine regions. He also gained exposure to the wine show circuit as a wine show judge and via tastings with the Australian Wine Research Industry. During this period Alex also completed a Post Graduate in Wine Making at Waite Campus. These experiences provided Alex with an exceptional insight into regional wine styles plus a broader scope into various winemaking and viticultural techniques.
Eager to explore and employ new styles during his winemaking career, Alex has spent vintages in Piedmont, Chianti, and along the Mosel in Germany. Alex started as 10th Winemaker at Saltram in 2017, however his first connection with Saltram was in 2001, working alongside the 8th maker, Nigel Dolan. Alex has been actively involved in keeping the high standards set by his predecessors, and has continued to promote Saltram, launching new Saltram wines into China.
Today, Alex is keen to bring new ideas to the Saltram portfolio and is particularly interested in exploring Single Vineyard Wines within the Barossa.
Alex remains heavily involved in all facets of the vineyard and its influence on winemaking styles. Working with different varieties, and subregions of the Barossa Valley ensure Alex is extremely enthusiastic about the quality of Barossa Valley wines.
Alex now lives on the coast of South Australia with his wife, his son Pascal, and his antique 1948 Italian coffee machine. In addition to his passion for wine Alex is a keen lover of photography and jazz. He also has a fond interest in food and wine integration, establishing the ‘Taste (sans frontieres)’, which involves a series of wine discussions with local winemakers.