'The DRC of the southern hemisphere'?

Entrance pillar, Bass Phillip, Gippsland, Victoria, Australia

Australia's most famous Pinot producer has changed hands. Max finds out what is planned, and hoped for.

When I visited Phillip Jones at Bass Phillip vineyard in Gippsland, south-east of Melbourne, in late February, the 74-year-old winemaker gave no indication he was in the final, stressful stages of selling his beloved business.

Instead, Jones was in fine form. Entertainingly irascible as ever, he opened bottle after bottle – including an older vintage of the Reserve Pinot Noir, considered by many Australia’s best example of the variety (and, at around AU$800 a bottle, certainly its most expensive) – pouring wines blind...