Welcome to our series of interviews with Barossans, this week we catch up with Ben Chapman, Chief Executive Officer, Thorn-Clarke Wines

1   What would you like to do if you weren’t working in the wine industry?

Become a professional recreational fisherman.

2   What do you love most about your job and why?

The wine industry attracts a diverse mix of good and passionate people, there aren’t many I can say I haven’t enjoyed working with over the years.

3   What was your first car?

A Mazda 808 station wagon, it was a straight and well maintained car until I became the owner!

4   What grape variety or wine style most interests you at the moment?

Graciano is interesting and Shiraz pays the bills.

5   What are you listening too at the moment?

Dead Mouse.

6   What is your favourite dish to cook?

BBQ – I’m a simple creature lacking cooking ability and creativity in the kitchen.

7   What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Time at the beach with family; swimming, fishing and keeping active during the day and at night eating and drinking.

8   When you’re not working what do you like to do?

We have young kids that are getting into sport, bikes and generally being kids – that’s fun.

9   What is your greatest extravagance?

Holidaying, but I am looking to invest in a Rolex watch and Maserati sports car soon.

10   What are you reading at the moment?

Daily newspapers, I haven’t read a novel for a while unfortunately.

11   What is your favourite city/country to visit and why?

Amsterdam in Holland because it is very cosmopolitan, fun and liberal in thinking. There is also a long and respected history in the country, the people I have met are decent with a strong work ethic yet know how to have fun also.

12   What is the most memorable wine/s you have tried?

A bottle of 1976 Metala white label and a Chapoutier Cote Rotie (can’t remember label or vintage) both great wines and with good friends on good nights.

13   Who are your heroes in real life?

This is a tough question. I don’t think I have any real ‘heroes’ I certainly admire people; mum and dad for raising me and instilling in me values, people that challenge themselves in business, sport, adventure and many other pursuits. People that have been met in life with great adversity yet face every day with a positive attitude. There are many other situations where I find people admirable but it is difficult to narrow it down to a few Heroes.

14   What are your top 3 Barossa tips?

  • Kaiser Stuhl conservation park with its scenery, peace and quiet and kangaroos so tame you can almost catch them.
  • Angaston is a beautiful town to wander the main street and explore.
  • Historic Seppeltsfield, an incredible building and story to this old winery.

15   What would be your chosen superpower?

Being able to fly like superman would be handy.

16   If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would you say to them?

Ernest Shackleton – tell me about your adventures.

17   If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?

Family (if permitting people?) if not then a fishing rod, an esky with an assorted beers / wines and a bbq – more like a holiday than being stranded!

18   If you died and came back as a person or thing, what would it be?

I haven’t finished doing what I want to so I am happy to come back as me. If I died after a long and fulfilling life I would chose to come back as one of our dogs – they have it good!

19   What makes the Barossa special to you?

A great sense of community across all ages and backgrounds. We have recently moved  house and our new neighbour in his 60’s has invited me to a ‘men’s shed’ monthly get together – it sounds like a good excuse for glass of wine and a chat while taking a look at another guys shed and its contents.

20   What is your motto?

The harder I work, the luckier I get.


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Twitter: @thorn_clarke