The wine industry has long been dominated by men, but things are quickly changing. The Barossa Wine Auction champions women with a number of leading female wine makers at the forefront. Below we chat with Louisa Rose, Chief Winemaker at Yalumba. Tickets are still available for this year’s event. (Partner Content)
Louisa Rose didn’t always think she would work in the wine industry.
When she graduated school in the 80s, she assumed a career in wine was unrealistic and instead enrolled in a Bachelor of Science, majoring in physics.
Little did she know that not only would she end up having a long and illustrious career in wine, but she would also work for the same company, Yalumba, for over 20 years – including as Chief Winemaker, the position she holds today.
Prior to Yalumba, Louisa found her passion for wine through weekends spent toiling on her parent’s small vineyard in the Yarra Valley.
“I remember when I was 14 thinking I should probably go and get a job after seeing all my friends starting to work. My parents offered me an experience on their vineyard – and so my work began” says Louisa.
It was the beginning of what would be a lifetime love affair with the wine industry, and one that ultimately led Louisa to dedicating her career to continuing to raise the profile of Australian wine.
After completing her physics degree, Louisa couldn’t resist the pull to learn more about wine, and it was while studying winemaking in Adelaide, that she first took up a role with Yalumba.
“You feel like you’re working in a big family environment.”
“I’ve been here ever since,” Louisa says “It’s a wonderful company to get involved with. It’s privately owned and the Hill-Smith family are very close to the business – you feel like you’re working in a big family environment.”
In that sense, Louisa’s wine journey has followed a consistent path from her own family’s vineyard through to what is now an internationally recognised label from a region that is renowned across the globe for its superior wine – the Barossa. In fact, it’s the burgeoning growth of Barossa wine, and Australian wine more broadly, that has kept Louisa in her role at Yalumba for as long as she has.
“Since I started back in 1992, the industry has expanded all over the world. It has given us the opportunity to look at new varieties and styles of wine, and new regions.you feel like you’re working in a big family environment.”
Even as the industry has changed, one thing that has stayed the same is the sense of community that underpins the vineyards in the Barossa.
“I love seeing this type of camaraderie from winemakers in such a competitive industry.”
This culture is part of what Louisa and her team at Yalumba are so proud to celebrate every two years at the Barossa Wine Auction. One example of the positivity is the willingness of winemakers to put their own wines on the table and to be benchmarked against their colleagues from other wineries.
“I love seeing this type of camaraderie from winemakers in such a competitive industry as it is very unusual. This is why the wine industry is so different from all other and witnessing something like this at the Barossa Wine Auction, is just priceless. “
“This sense of romance in what wine is all about.”
“If you think about any other specific food or drink industry, there wouldn’t be nearly as many producers of the one commodity as there is in wine. There are thousands of wineries in Australia, making different wine and there is a place for them all. This sense of romance in what wine is all about.”
The Barossa Wine Auction is crucial to this – the event tells the stories behind the wine that people consume, and draws a connection to the loving and careful process that goes into each and every bottle.
For punters, you can be assured that there is plenty to be excited about when attending the 2019 Barossa Wine Auction – not only do you get to meet the faces behind the flavours, but you get to experience special wine varieties that aren’t available elsewhere.
As I try to get a bit of a sneak peek from Louisa of what Yalumba will be offering, she’s determined to keep it a surprise for the Auction on Friday 26th April..
“I can say that we’re certainly getting some wines out of the museum for the Barossa Wine Auction. We do hold back small amounts of wine to get some age on them. It’s always exciting to be able to showcase them at such important events.
We’re also working with a local artist who has painted the outside of some larger format bottles of some of our signature varieties. We are combining the art of wine and true art to make some really unique pieces.
“It’s going to be a great event, and we really look forward to it. There’s that real excitement of who’s going to be there, and who’s going to bid. Trying to sit on my hands to avoid buying too much myself, that’s always my struggle!”
The 2019 Barossa Wine Auction opens for online bidding on Friday 5 April, closing on Sunday 5 May. The top lots are being auctioned at the Live Auction and Lunch on Friday 26 April. Gather your friends for a delicious lunch, join the fun in bidding at the live auction and celebrate some remarkable women making waves in the industry. Register to bid www.langtons.com.au and get your lunch tickets here.