When did you first know you wanted to become a winemaker?
“I’ve been interested in wine since my late teens, though it was an early release of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc that hooked me. I couldn’t believe a wine could be so aromatic and I wanted to know more!”
How would you describe your career so far?
“After studying wine science and beginning my career in Australia, I worked across Europe and South America as a winemaking consultant for Cellarworld International Ltd in the United Kingdom, [where] I defined wine styles for the burgeoning local market. I was also a wine judge for the International Wine Challenge (UK) and various wine magazines.
“In 2001, I moved to Chile where I worked as a senior winemaker, broker and consultant for seven years. After working for two years as senior winemaker for Viña Morandé,
I established my own winemaking and wine education company, Southern Cross Wines, which develops and delivers winemaking-based programs across Latin America. In 2002, I attained the status of the first female Master of Wine in Australia from The Institute of Masters of Wine. I was also starting a family with my husband Pete, who is also a winemaker.
“Since returning to Australia in 2008, I have worked as a brand ambassador, chief examiner and lead educator for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), as well as a chairperson and judge for numerous wine shows. I also moved from a wine consultant at Helen & Joey Estate to the chief winemaker – it’s great to be hands on again in the winery!”
Is there a specific process you follow when developing a new wine?
“It’s so dependent on the grapes and what the season has brought, as well as asking what do we want to achieve. There are so many techniques around the world [that I] tap into.”
What do you love the most about your job?
“The seasonal changes and their impact on the fruit, and drinking some great wine of course!”
What is your favourite food-and-wine pairing?
“Anything by Joh Jos Prüm, which I drink with anything or on its own.”
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
“Further ahead in the transition of the Helen & Joey Estate vineyard to ultra-premium production, while continuing to enjoy watching the business grow.”
From Wineries of Victoria – Issue 10, edited by Bhria Vellnagel.