Over more than a decade at Foxeys, working closely alongside Tony and Michael, Chris has taken an increasingly influential role in the direction and day-to-day running of our winemaking program. A lifelong Peninsula local who lives nearby with his young family, Chris joined Foxeys in his university years as a cellar door all-rounder and vineyard helper. His exceptional nose and aptitude for winemaking
soon became apparent and before long he switched his studies from science to a Bachelor of Winemaking. In the years since, Chris has played a vital part in Foxeys’ management of our vineyards and our transition to organic-biodynamic certification in the winery, as well as helping shape the direction of our winemaking.
He has been a regular participant in Australia’s leading pinot noir workshop, worked an Old World vintage, and become an associate wine show judge.
Inspired by the benchmark vintages of France’s Champagne region, Michael believes that the Mornington Peninsula’s potential as a producer of great sparkling wine is yet to be fully realised.
Michael began his career in the corporate world but quickly found himself buying, operating and renovating a series of Melbourne cafes and restaurants in partnership with his brother Tony and their mother Margaret, including the French restaurants Les Halles and Garcon.
Together the brothers opened one of Melbourne’s first “gastro-pubs” in the early 1990s, South Yarra’s Argo Hotel, which specialised in Victorian and fine European wines. In 2002, this enterprise was sold, allowing Michael and Tony to focus on Foxeys Hangout.
Michael is responsible for Foxeys’ sparkling winemaking and unique cellar door sparkling disgorgement program.
Tony Lee makes the kinds of wines he loves to drink: wines of elegance and character from naturally healthy vineyards, and from grapes that clearly express the terroir of the place where they grow. ‘The more we get right in the vineyard, the less we do in the winery.’
Tony’s winemaking journey began in his schooldays with work experience in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. An economics degree and a chef’s qualification followed before Tony returned to his vocation, undertaking winemaking studies at Charles Sturt University in New South Wales in the 1990s.
In 2002 Tony and his family moved to the Red Hill property where Foxeys’ cellar door and kitchen now stands above the vineyard he and Michael planted together. As the vines grew, Tony’s experience in this vineyard and at Foxeys’ nearby winegrowing sites contributed to his conviction that the purest expression of terroir and clearest varietal character comes from grapes grown in healthy soils with no synthetic chemicals.
In the two decades since Foxeys Hangout harvested its first vintages the wines have won a string of trophies and accolades from Australia’s most respected independent wine judges and writers.
Tony’s commitment to natural, sustainable viticulture drove the decision to manage Foxeys’ key vineyards biodynamically. Three of these vineyards now have full organic certification, as does the Foxeys winery.