Howard started in the wine industry fresh out of high school, as a trainee winemaker for a family winery in Griffith in 1964. He then got a job as winemaker with Seppelt at their Griffith winery, and was transferred to their Great Western winery in 1971. It was here that his long history with sparkling wines commenced.
That first year (1971) was a steep learning curve, with Howard being responsible for growing up the yeast cultures for ‘tirage’ bottling of sparkling wines (secondary fermentation in the bottles). This is a pivotal part of the production of traditional method sparkling wines, as it is important the yeast is strong and healthy to successfully carry out the fermentation inside each individual bottle. And it was the start of an obsession.
Over the coming years he continued working as a winemaker for Seppelt, learning not only the practical production side of making sparkling wines, but the subtleties of what to look for in a base wine, and predicting how these wines will age with extended time on yeast lees in the bottle. With Seppelt he was also lucky enough to critically taste many Champagnes and aged sparkling wines, including a couple of sparkling reds which were older than he was (1944 & 1946 Sparkling Burgundy). Although this was definitely a perk of the job, it was also valuable palate training which has contributed to the vast knowledge and ability he now has. He also learnt a great deal about the art of sparkling winemaking by having the privilege of working closely for 2 or so years with Leo Hurley, who had worked at Seppelt Great Western for 50 years and for most of those years been assistant to the legendary winemaker Colin Preece.
Howard progressed to a Senior winemaking position at Seppelt and spent 15 years working there.
While with Seppelt, Howard had come to Rutherglen several times as Seppelt also had a winery there at that time. So, when he tired of working for a large company, he decided to settle in Rutherglen.
Before starting his own business in 1991, he was the winemaker for Jolimont wines in Rutherglen and made North East Victoria’s very first sparkling white and sparkling red wines under this label in 1986.
Howard’s first Sparkling wines under his own ‘Anderson’ label were a 1992 Pinot noir Chardonnay, 1993 Sparkling Chenin blanc and 1992 Sparkling Shiraz.
Along with the 5 time gold medal winning Anderson 2002 Cellar block Sparkling Shiraz, and a brand new 100% sparkling Durif, the Anderson 1992 Sparkling Shiraz - with 17 years on yeast lees - was one of the 7 white and red sparkling wines featured at a series of 7 course Sparkling degustation dinners Anderson Winery held over the course of 2011 in Rutherglen, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney in celebration of Howard’s 40 years of making sparkling wines (1971 – 2011).