Onannon is three people with one goal. The people are Sam Middleton, Kaspar Hermann and Will Byron, each of whom contributed the last letters of their surname to make Onannon. A friendship forged in winemaking studies was cemented in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with each of them serving stints at Coldstream Hills in the Yarra Valley in the noughties. Sam and Kaspar are still based in the Yarra, making wine at Mount Mary, while Will works at a winery on the Mornington Peninsula. Their goal at Onannon is to craft wines that speak a little of themselves and a lot of their place. Since starting out in 2008, their focus has been Pinot Noir and the regions of Gippsland and Mornington Peninsula, though in 2012 they added a first Gippsland Chardonnay. This tight band of brothers has garnered a devoted following with bright, expressive wines made in minuscule quantities. They have a great future ahead of them.
“You would have to go a long way to find three more open-hearted and utterly committed winemakers; the world is their oyster, their ambitions unlimited.” James Halliday
About Kaspar Hermann, Sam Middleton and Will Byron
Kaspar Hermann started his wine career at Seville Estate in the Yarra Valley in 2004. Eager to experience something different, he travelled to Italy and worked at Viticoltori De Conciliis in Campania, southern Italy in 2005 before returning that same year to work at Coldstream Hills. Kaspar then landed the assistant winemaker role at Punch (formerly Diamond Valley), where he stayed until his move to Mount Mary in 2011. During these years Kaspar honed his craft on some of the country’s most exalted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines while completing a Bachelor of Wine Science at Charles Sturt University.
Sam Middleton, meanwhile, grew up at Mount Mary, the family vineyard and winery, and has thus been involved in grape growing and winemaking since he was old enough to walk. To gain broader knowledge of the Yarra Valley, he worked vintage at Coldstream Hills in 2006 and 2007. He then took on an assistant winemaker role at nearby Dominque Portet, working with Dominque and son Ben for two seasons. He ultimately returned to Mount Mary in 2009 by way of a sojourn in Gevrey-Chambertin for the 2009 harvest. Sam now oversees the winemaking and viticulture at Mount Mary with Kaspar.
Will Byron worked his first vintage at Coldstream Hills in Victoria’s Yarra Valley in 2003. He returned to the celebrated Pinot Noir and Chardonnay producer a year later, taking up a full-time position that he held until 2008. Will then clocked up 12 vintages in five years, working at Maude Wines (Central Otago), Stonier Wines (Mornington Peninsula), Domaine David Duband (Burgundy), Brokenwood Wines (Hunter Valley/Beechworth), Thomas Wines (Hunter Valley) and Domaine Blain-Gagnard (Burgundy), where he has worked every harvest since 2009.