Liam was born into the wine industry. His father, Bob Heslop, was working at one of Australia's most historic winery, Kay's Amery in South Australia's McLaren Vale when Liam was born in 1982.
A couple of years later the family moved to a 50-acre property, north of Mudgee, where Liam's mother grew up.
Once settled, the family planted ten acres of vines, comprising eight different varieties. The fruit was sold to Mansfield Wines, where Bob was winemaker.
In the vineyard Liam pruned in the winter and picked at harvest time. At the winery he was chief bucket washer and helped when bottling by putting individual corks in the manual corking machine and taking out the finished bottle.
High school work experience was at Andrew Harris Vineyards under winemaker, Frank Newman, now at Burnbrea Wines. During the post school ‘gap-year’ of 2001, Liam worked at Huntington Estate with Suzy and Bob Roberts as well as working in the tasting room at Pieter van Gent winery and Blue Wren winery.
Early Lowe Experience
The experiences of that year cemented his passion for winemaking and he spent the following four years getting a winemaking degree in Adelaide. As part of fourth year ‘industry experience’ he worked vintage 2005 here at Lowe Wines.
An extreme vintage experience comprising 430 tonnes and nearly 100 different batches of wine, all in a winery designed for about half that. With the combined experience of the winemaking team, so many different varieties and wine styles from vineyards with very different climates, Lowe was the best place to learn.
Prior to completing university Pieter van Gent offered Liam an assistant winemaker’s position. He worked there for two years, gaining valuable experience in the art of fortified winemaking and the wine business in general under both Pieter and then his son Philip.
In late 2007, international experienced beckoned. Liam worked vintage in a small Californian winery in the Russian River Valley called Limerick Lane Cellars that specialised in Zinfandel. Upon returning home, he worked with David Lowe at Lowe Wines.
The following year he went back to California to learn about Pinot Noir (and a little bit more about Zinfandel) from the team at Papapietro-Perry Winery. Fermentation took place in one-tonne picking bins and the wine matured in French oak all from the same Cooper. Blends were put together later to display the differences between clones, vineyards, and regions.
In 2009 Italy was the destination. Three months in Barolo and Barbaresco, two of the world's most beautiful wine regions at a winery called Poderi Colla. An area with a strong cultural mix of history and innovation built around the complexity and unforgiving nature of the Nebbiolo grape. Italians being Italians don’t like to do more than they have to, but in the winery, everything was done properly and for a reason.
The Return to Lowe
On returning to Lowe's for vintage 2010 Liam was promoted to Winemaker. A wet year with many winemaking challenges; a ‘baptism of fire’
"My primary goal is simply, to make every wine the best it can be. My winemaking philosophy is to allow the grapes to express their own identity; a winemaker should be more a caretaker of quality rather than a dictator. This is obviously easier and more enjoyable when working with quality fruit, making Lowe Wines a great place to be."