Adelaide Hills winemaker Taras Ochota has passed away

13 October, 2020

Legendary Adelaide Hills winemaker Taras Ochota has died after a long battle with illness.

Taras won the 2013 Young Gun of Wine Award and quickly became one of the most prominent winemakers in Australia.

He was dubbed a “rock star winemaker” as he once played in a punk band and named his unconventional, wonderfully raw wines after his favourite songs.

His Ochota Barrels winery developed an international cult following, and he once hosted Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones in Adelaide.

Yet friends prefer to remember him as a beautiful soul who made everyone he met feel special. His good friend Maynard James Keenan, of US rock band Tool, said: “We lost a good one today. Godspeed, Taras. This truly sucks.”

Rory Kent, founder of the Young Gun Wine Award, said: “So loved by everyone he met. Such a beautiful soul. A rock star without pretence.”

Emma Symington MW of Wine Australia said: “The saddest news this morning that this wonderful human, Taras Ochota, has passed away. Gentle, funny, intelligent and with a way of looking at things differently to everyone else. Not to mention an incredibly talented winemaker. He will leave a massive hole. RIP Taras.”

Hamish Laurie, president of the Adelaide Hills Wine Region, said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of one of the most colourful and well loved members of our Hills wine community. Our thoughts are with Amber and his family at this incredibly tough time.”

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