The Winemakers


Steve’s first qualification was in food, completing a chef’s apprenticeship in the mid-1980’s. Steve developed a number of culinary passions, including cheesemaking, which would take him to France to study his trade but it was after working at Château du Bluizard in the Cote de Brouilly that Steve was inspired to become a qualified winemaker.

Steve graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Wine Science) in 1993 from Roseworthy Agricultural College, and in 1994, having maintained his passion for cheese, won a Queen’s Trust Scholarship to study farmhouse cheese making in France.

Steve then spent a year working as a cheesemaker at Milawa in northeastern Victoria.

As a winemaker, Steve has worked for Leeuwin Estate in the Margaret River (1999 – 2002) and Yarra Burn Winery in the Yarra Valley (2002 – 2003) before joining Giant Steps as a Winemaker in August 2003. Steve is a Len Evans Scholar and has completed several vintages overseas, including in Alsace, Provence and Brouilly, and is an experienced wine show judge.

In 2016 Steve was awarded the Australian Gourmet Traveller Magazine Winemaker of the Year award and in 2019 was announced as Wine Communicators Victorian Legend of the Vine.

Grace Jiranek

Grace’s wine making “experience” started by osmosis from a young age, hailing from the wine heavy state of South Australia and growing up with a Professor of Wine microbiology as her Dad. She was four years old on a family holiday to the vineyards of Europe and she likes to think this is where she (perhaps unconsciously) found her passion for her craft!

The reality though is that during a European gap year in 2015 she accidentally stumbled upon the VinExpo in Bordeaux and this ignited her first genuine interest in pursuing a career as a Viticulturalist and Oenologist.

As a result, Grace changed her University course preferences and commenced a Degree with Honours in Viticulture and Oenology at the University of Adelaide with an honors thesis focused on the impact of viticultural practices on the occurrence of berry shrivel in the renowned Coonawarra wine region.

Her part time University job at Penfolds Magill Estate and then her first job with Brian Croser at Tapanappa in the Adelaide Hills provided the perfect grounding and training for a dynamic, creative and passionate young wine maker.

Recognising her love for cool climate wines, Grace made the move to the Mornington Peninsula in 2020 and was privileged to work at outstanding wineries including Stonier, and as an Assistant Winemaker at Ten Minutes by Tractor where she continued to hone her craft (and eat a lot of good food and drink a lot of good wine along the way).

Seeking to learn from the best of the best, Grace has enjoyed two annual vintages with Jean-Marc Pillot at his domaine in Chassagne-Montrachet and this has extended both her passion and knowledge of production of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Grace is passionate about her profession and is a part of a number of tasting groups and she regularly enjoys speaking to winemaking legends in her podcast Wine: Pressing Topics.

She loves all that the Mornington Peninsula has to offer and she spends much of her time either renovating her 1980s house or working in the vineyard and winery at Eldridge Estate with her Australian Shepherd puppy – Stobie by her side.