Yarra Valley, Australia
See Giant Steps wines we sell
Owner Phil Sexton grew up in Margaret River as the wine industry began to boom in the region, and he had a long time affinity for wine, beer and hospitality in general. After finishing high school Phil studied science at the University of Western Australia, then began work at Swan brewery in Perth. During this period in his life he also studied winemaking part time before going to England in 1980 to study Malting and Brewing Science at the University of Birmingham.
Upon his return to Western Australia a few things happened in quick succession. He purchased land to start a winery which he named Devil’s Lair. The choice of land was based on his small budget but it turned out to be good vineyard land. This winery was eventually sold to Southcorp in the 1990s and was known for producing high quality Chardonnays and reds. Also shortly after returning from England, in 1983 he co-founded Matilda Bay Brewing Company which ended up being listed as a publicly traded company and then being sold to Fosters in 1990.
During the mid 1990s Phil spent two years in Portland, Oregon, helping a friend with a microbrewery. Upon returning to Australia for the second time, he co-founded another brewery, this one being the legendary Little Creatures in Fremantle, just south of Perth. Shortly thereafter he made the giant step east, towards Melbourne and purchased vineyard land in the Yarra Valley. The move east from Margaret River to the Yarra Valley was driven by the desire for new challenges and the location being friendly to cool climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir production. Giant Steps had its first vintage in 2001 and another label, Innocent Bystander, had its first vintage in 2004. The Giant Steps label has been responsible for some of the more exciting single vineyard Chardonnays and Pinots that we have seen. Each one is an expression of the terroir of that particular vineyard.