Q&A with Tokar Estate’s Daniel Tokar

The inviting, warm premises of Tokar Estate.

How long have you been in the wine industry?

A tough questions to answer as I’m not quite sure how long it’s been, but I’ve primarily worked on the wine industry side of things for the last 10 years. But I’ve been around vineyards and wineries for the better part of two and half decades.

How did you get involved with Tokar Estate?

Being a family business, it’s something I’ve just grown up around and being part of. Though i did step out of the wine industry part of things for some time after finishing Year 12 and became a chef. It was only after many years as a chef that I realised I needed a break from cooking, at the time I was working at the family estate. That was where I decided to go into the wine side of the business in a sales role.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The fact I get to drink on the job is not bad. Jokes aside, working in the wine industry is pretty good as you get to spend time in the sun, drink good wine and see the paddock to bottle process. Being in the wine industry you really get to witness the seasons and the changing of the seasons. But all that is nothing compared to the fact the Yarra Valley is one of the prettiest regions in Australia, and many of us see that every day when we go to work.

Tell us about the wine produced at Tokar Estate – what sets you apart?

We are primarily a red wine estate, with 80 per cent of our wine being red dominate. But what sets us apart is probably our style of wine which, like many wineries, is a collaboration between the winemaker and the site. As the years have gone by and changed so has our philosophy in both the winemaking techniques and the vineyard practices. In current trends of wines you are seeing better focus and site expression with a minimal approach to the winemaking side of things, practice we’ve had implemented for some time now. Tokar Estate like others in the Yarra valley has invested heavily in vineyard management in order to achieve not only greater wines but greater constancy across our wines.

Which one is your personal favourite and why?

My favourite wine would have to be Cabernet Sauvignon. Similar to how many people come across a sporting team to follow when younger, the same is said about wine. As a young boy with European ancestry, wine has always been a party of life so when I was 12 years old we were visiting the Napa Valley in California, we were visiting Robert Mondavi Winery and that is where my favourite wine became Cabernet Sauvignon. We were treated to a special tour and tasting to which I was given the chance to taste some wine even though I was only 12 years old.

Aside from wine, what else do you offer visitors?

Besides wine we offer our cellar door to purchase wine from our newly refurbished barn, we have a newly renovated restaurant which is serving modern Australian cuisines with flavours from Eastern Europe. However on top of all that is one of the best visual outlooks of the Yarra Valley and the rolling hills of our beautiful region.

What makes for a memorable Yarra Valley dining experience?

Patience, good company, good wine, good food and something nice to look at. We want people to leave happy and relaxed like most business would thou we want people to come and let us serve them, let us send food out for you, let us create some excitement for you. I guarantee the dining experience will be so much better when people are serving each other and trying new foods that they might not have tried otherwise.

Have you always enjoyed wine?

Not always, though the older I get the more i enjoy it, this might have come with maturity but it also come from trying plenty of wine from around the Australia and overseas.

How has Tokar Estate changed over the last 25 years?

Tokar Estate has changed plenty since we first started. We are coming up to our 21st vintage of wine and also our 18th year since we built our somewhat iconic building. Iconic in the fact it is Tuscan yellow with a Terracotta red roof. We’ve change our style of not only our wine but also our restaurant, we adapted to modern and current trends all while keeping the one thing that has kept people coming back day after day, month after month and year after year, and that is the heart and soul approach in everything we do. Our labels have changed the fourth chapter for our wine story with the 2018 Vintage being the first to change. In the spirit of change, September 2019 saw our restaurant and cellar door close for two weeks to get a well-deserved makeover, a modern look and something that I myself am very proud of, a space we think is just as beautiful as the surrounds of our beautiful region the Yarra Valley.

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