William “Bill” Hardy was born in Adelaide, South Australia in 1950.
He is the second of four sons of Thomas Walter Hardy OBE and Barbara Rosemary Hardy AO, and is a fifth generation descendant of Thomas Hardy, who created the wine business, Thomas Hardy & Sons Pty Ltd, in 1853.
He was educated at St Peter’s College, Adelaide, and the University of Adelaide where he graduated as a Bachelor of Agricultural Science.
Bill commenced work with the family business as a trainee winemaker in 1972, and after an initial vintage at the company’s Tintara Cellars in McLaren Vale, travelled to Bordeaux in France to undertake the Diplome National d’Oenologue at the Université de Bordeaux, graduating Majeur (dux) of his year.
Following the 1973 vintage at Chateau Bouscaut and Chateau Haut Brion in the Graves region, Bill returned to Australia to become Winemaker at the family company’s Tintara Cellars.
Three years later, Bill was appointed Senior Winemaker of Houghton Wines in Western Australia, following the family company’s acquisition of this renowned wine business.
Bill returned to South Australia in late 1982 to expanded winemaking responsibilities.
These included supervision of vintage operations at the regional sites at Waikerie and Padthaway, co-ordination of the rebuilding of the winemaking and distillation facilities at the Thomas Hardy headquarters at Reynella, and overseeing all fortified wine and brandy production for the company.
At the same time, Bill continued his commitment to the Australian wine industry on both a national and regional basis, serving as President of the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology and Chairman of the McLaren Vale Winemakers’ Association.
When the company established a base in France by acquisition of Domaine de la Baume in the Languedoc-Roussillon area in 1990, Bill was a natural choice to manage this project during the early years of establishment and growth.
Five vintages later, Bill returned once again to South Australia where he took on the role of Hardys Brand Ambassador, dealing with technical communications and public relations activities involving the wine trade, media, clients, staff and the public – both in Australia and around the world.
Bill has maintained a family commitment to both the Australian wine industry and the environment. In recent years, he has been a member of the Australian Wine Industry Technical Advisory Committee, Australian Delegate to the Oenology Commission of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine and Chairman of Wetland Care Australia.
Bill is married to Merilyn, and they have two daughters – Kate and Alix. Merilyn is a semi-retired Travel Consultant with a particular interest in European wine and battlefield tourism, whilst Kate works as an attorney for a US legal firm specialising in beverage alcohol law and Alix works for Kay Brothers Wines in McLaren Vale
In private life, Bill’s great passions, apart from his family, all involve the ‘great outdoors’ and include his vineyard and forest-covered farm, bushwalking, hunting and golf. He is a practical man who, despite his public relations role as Brand Ambassador for Hardys Wines, enjoys nothing more than working with his hands and communing with nature.