Lethbridge Wines grew from a friendship between Adrian Thomas, Ray Nadeson and Maree Collis. All three were busy establishing careers in science and medicine and shared a love of great wine which grew to be an obsession. Soon the afternoons sipping burgundies were replaced by weekends searching for the perfect vineyard site and then by afternoons digging holes and planting vines. For two of the partners (Maree and Ray) the passion for wine drove them to a sea change, and in 2003 after 7 years of balancing careers in science and running a vineyard and winery, they made Lethbridge Wines their reison d'etre.
Maree Collis and Ray Nadeson are not your average winemakers of a boutique winery. Both were initially trained as research scientists and hold PhD degrees in chemistry and medicine, respectively. While combining their scientific careers with winemaking, Maree and Ray completed the winemaking degree at Charles Sturt University. Ray states, "winemaking is not really that different to science, both are creative and both involve 99% perspiration, 1% inspiration".
Not surprisingly, the site at Lethbridge was selected based on scientific principles such as soil type, degree days and other climatic indicators, yet when the three partners first explored the property they discovered an ancient old wooden fermentation vat in one of the old sheds. Discussion with the previous owner (Ivor Perdrisat) revealed that his family, Swiss in origin, had planted a vineyard on the exact site back in the 1870's before the discovery of phylloxera in the region. The old wine vat has been reincarnated as a beautiful timber tasting bench in the cellar door. This story is compelling in the connection between traditional wisdom and modern science.