Phil Sexton, founder of Giant Steps winery in Healesville, Victoria, is certainly not shy of giving things a go – having helped to establish Matilda Bay Brewery in Victoria and Little Creatures in Western Australia. He also established Devil’s Lair in Margaret River, before selling it to the precursor of Treasury Wine Estates. Giant Steps came along afterwards, with single-vineyard Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, revealing a greater sense of place and complexity (having also scored very well with many wine critics). Phil, being a jazz fan, named the winery after the album ‘Giant Steps’ by John Coltrane. In 2016, Phil sold Innocent Bystander to Brown Brothers, allowing him to focus purely on Giant Steps. Winemaker Steve Flamsteed worked at Leeuwin Estate in Margaret River and Yarra Burn in the Yarra Valley, before joining Phil at Giant Steps. The aim, to produce small batches of high-end wine, using gravity wherever possible (due to it being more gentle than pumping wine).
Giant Steps source grapes from eight vineyards within the Yarra and Upper Yarra Valleys, Coal River Valley in Tasmania, and Central Otago, New Zealand, with the vast majority planted to produce Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The wines are pitched at middle to premium budgets, such as the TOSQ Vineyard Pinot Noir from Central Otago and the Nocton Vineyard Pinot Noir from the Yarra Valley. Giant Steps also makes its own Vermouth, Causes & Cures, made from a base of viognier and infused with botanicals. Harry’s Monster, a merlot and cabernet blend, is an ideal wine for those after something fuller in flavour.