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  4.  | Issue 12 Meet The Winemaker – Clare Halloran
Tarrawarra Estate

Clare Halloran


“It’s often the most difficult vintages where all your knowledge and experience is tested and you have to make brave decisions.”

Tarrawarra Estate Logo

When did you realise you wanted tobecome a winemaker?

[It was] through working in some of Melbourne’s best restaurants that I discovered the big wide world of wine. I was fascinated with the science behind winemaking, as well as the creativity – I felt that itwas something I would love doing. I [then] applied to Adelaide University and was accepted, that’s how it all began.

Please tell us about your career so far.

My first degree was in physical education, but I [knew] I didn’t want to be a teacher. After Adelaide [University], I worked at T’Gallant on the Mornington Peninsula for a few years before coming to TarraWarra Estate.

What do you love most about being a winemaker?

It’s a combination of science, creativity and experience, where no two vintages are the same, and no two wines are the same. I love that constant challenge and accumulation of knowledge that we use daily to improve what we do.

What is your favourite wine, and what food do you typically pair it with?

I’m often asked this question, and I can honestly say that I don’t have an answer. I love a beautiful, aged chardonnay with roast chicken, as much as I love pinot noir with duck. Then there is barbera with pasta – such a happy combination!

Is there a specific process you follow when developing a new wine?

No – sometimes they’re meticulously researched and planned, and other times they just happen.

Is there any vintage you’re particularly proud of creating? Why?

I think it would be the 2011 vintage; it was incredibly wet right through the season, and summer was non-existent. But it’s often the most difficult vintages where all your knowledge and experience is tested and you have to make brave decisions. Some of our wines from 2011 are stunning, and I get so much pleasure from seeing that.

How does the local climate/soil affect the wine you make?

Our climate and soil will always produce wines that have a lot of texture and layers. There’s always an elegance that is consistent across all our varieties.

Which of your own varieties do you typically indulge in?

It’s really hard to choose! For indulging, I would probably pull out an older reserve pinot noir.

Where do you see yourself in five years? How do you think your winemaking will evolve during this time?

In five years time we will have almost completed replanting the entire vineyard due to phylloxera. We have taken all our knowledge and learnings and applied it to the replanting; I look forward to all of that coming to fruition. My winemaking is always guided by the fruit of the season.

From Wineries of Victoria – Issue 12, edited by Bethany Hayes.