In a sad day for the Western Australian wine community it has been confirmed that Roger Hill, who purchased Juniper Estate Winery in 1996, had passed away on Wednesday morning following complications arising from a bike accident on May 12th.
The death has come as a shock to the tight-knit WA wine industry where Mr. Hill was widely respected , along with chief winemaker Mark Messenger, for his work in turning Juniper Estate into a well known and award-winning business.
Juniper Estate was a standout at the 2010 Perth Royal Show where they won 7 trophies, most notably for a 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon.
Mr Messenger said yesterday that Mr Hill's death was unexpected. He said he had spoken to him by phone on Tuesday "when he was at home … but obviously catching up on a lot of business"
Mr Messenger had been working with Mr Hill since he took over Juniper Estate.
He described his friend as a consummate but fair businessman who would be sadly missed.
"He was a great believer in what we were doing, so much so that he ended up buying three properties down here with the idea of making the best wines possible," he said.
"He got the most out of people but he was still a very fair man and had a fantastic sense of humour, very dry.
Business will continue at the winery under the guide of Mr. Messenger who stated:
"At this stage it is business as usual, as he would have expected. He wanted me to make the best cabernet out of Margaret River - that's what we've been working at for a few years now and that is not changing."
Ahead of an expected statement by Mr Hill's family next week, police said that the accident had been reclassified as a fatal crash but it was not known whether charges would be laid.