Corrina Wright, Winemaker & Managing Director of Oliver’s Taranga, thought she wanted to be a lawyer! But she couldn’t get her love for those McLaren Vale vineyards she grew up on – which have been in her family for generations – out of her system.
Here’s her fabulous story.
When did you first enter the wine industry & why?
In 1993 I started a winemaking course at Adelaide Uni, but previous to that I grew up on our vineyard in McLaren Vale. My Dad was General Manager of Kay Brothers winery, and I worked in many a cellar door in the region! I also got all the crappy jobs in the vineyard- like cleaning out drippers- ugh!
I suppose the ‘why’ is a good question- I spent a lot of time looking past what was right in front of me, and wanted instead to be a lawyer. Eventually, I realised that perhaps I had an okay palate and all of the wine/grapes/vintage/farm life that I had absorbed by osmosis over the years had struck a passion in me to keep farming the same land my forbears have been on since 1841. Hence I finished a Commerce degree, then went overseas for a year before coming back to start Winemaking at Adelaide Uni!
What does your current role involve?
Oliver’s Taranga is a small family business- so we all wear many hats! I am mainly responsible for all of the winemaking, some vineyard decisions, marketing, cellar door sales, distribution (both national and international), strategy, financial reporting, cellar hand, dishwasher, bin emptier, etc etc.
From where/what regions do you source your grapes?
We only source from our own vineyard- 300 acres in McLaren Vale, South Australia
What’s the philosophy behind Oliver’s Taranga wines?
Mission Statement : To produce ultra-premium, age-worthy wines that reflect the unique character of the Taranga Vineyard.
Our family and business values: Quality focus in everything we do – Respect for family, history and tradition – Continuous improvement – Business integrity – Regional focus – Excellence in customer service – Authenticity – Involvement in our history – Passion about everything we do.
From the range of wines you produce, what are your personal favourites?
The Fiano and the HJ Reserve Shiraz. Fiano for its fabulousness as a vine and the way it grows, to the wine it makes- it has been exciting to be one of the first to work with the variety in Australia and can’t wait for the 2013 to be released in June.
The HJ Reserve Shiraz is named after our grandfather (Herbert John Oliver), and it is wine that is very special to us. Made from the oldest vines on our property (HJ planted them in 1948), the wine never ceases to amaze with its fruit density and super long fine grained tannins.
What’s your all-time favourite food & wine match?
Sagrantino and Porchetta- OMG. The tannins of the rare Sagrantino variety are pretty massive, and in its native Umbria (in Italy) it is eaten with Porchetta (pork) stuffed with wild fennel and garlic.
We have started doing ‘Porchetta Parties’ at our cellar door, and there is nothing better than slow cooked porchetta! The best bits are the cheeks…….DIVINE!
If you had to describe yourself as a wine it would be….
Champagne- bubbly, loud, refreshing, makes you smile and sometimes classy!
Favourite way to while away a Sunday afternoon?
At the shack at Black Point (Yorke Peninsula) with kids and husband playing on the beach right in front of the shack, me on the deck with a Gin and Tonic and a great book in the hammock, and fresh garfish, whiting & tommies for dinner.
Flats or heels?
Flats for work, heels for all other times as I am a bit of a shorty!
If there was one thing you wish you could tell the sisterhood of wine lovers out there, what would it be?
Be adventurous…don’t just keep on going back to the same wine or style all the time. Check out some of the new varieties, or small producers, or different regions. Take yourself on a journey. You will be surprised by what you find!