Joanne Bradbury, 3drops Wine & Olive Oil

She’s the brains, and brawn, behind the hugely successful 3drops Wine brand and is also the Committee Chair of the Qantas Wine Show of WA, Vice Chair of the Great Southern Wine Producers, and Board member of the Wines of WA. Meet the incredible Joanne Bradbury.


When, why and how did you first enter the wine industry?

I was working as an Occupational Therapist in the City when, in 1998, my parents decided to retire and downsize the family farm. This was a farming property my parents had bought in 1973 when they emigrated from the UK. I had grown up there with 2000 sheep and 400 cattle.

In 1998 we decided to plant 2000 olive trees – less capital required and less labour intensive than planting a vineyard. However our small plans became bigger and in 1999 we commenced planting of the vineyard on the family farm.

In 2007 we purchased another vineyard just two kilometres from the family property. Called Patterson’s, it had belonged to my schoolteachers when I was growing up in Mount Barker. The vines on this vineyard are now 34 years old and home to our Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Shiraz fruit.

What led you to start your own wine brand, 3drops?

When planting the vineyard and olive grove the intention was to have our own brand. We produced our first wine in 2001 and began producing olive oil in 2002.

We chose the name 3drops to reflect three important elements – wine, water and olive oil. The water is a large natural wetland which we carefully manage and utilise for irrigation.

What is your current role at 3drops and what does that involve day to day?

My role is hectic and varied ……. and fun.

I undertake all aspects of the business apart from the wine making and the viticulture. However I work closely with Rob Diletti, our winemaker in deciding on wine styles, fruit selection and the logistics of barrels and bottling. Rob and I have been working together to produce the 3drops range since 2002.

I also work closely with our Viticulturist, Ray Williams. Ray undertook the planning and planting of the vineyard in 1999 and still undertakes all the day to day management. I work closely with Ray in managing the vineyard – particularly in terms of the selection of viticultural techniques, viticultural budget, and negotiating fruit sales to nearby vineyards.

I organise all sales including mail order, and sales to domestic and international markets. I also undertake all the marketing for the 3drops business. I oversee the design of marketing collateral, purchasing of the packaging, and organisation of freight, warehousing and logistics for all our wine and olive oil.

I also organise many wine and food events, both for 3drops and for the Great Southern region and represent our brand at Trade Shows and festivals.

What is the philosophy behind 3drops?

We aim to make wines that reflect the Great Southern region and the terroir of our particular vineyard sites. Wine styles that are distinctly varietal; that are approachable and attractive in their youth, but have the ability to age and develop. Wines to taste, savour and enjoy …

Outside of Western Australia, the Great Southern is not as widely known as perhaps it should be. What should we all know about the Great Southern wine region? Why is it so fabulous?

The Great Southern is somewhat of a well kept secret. It’s cool climate, diverse terroir and its undiscovered nature is what sets its apart.

From the granite outcrops of the Porongurup ranges, to the spectacular coastline of Albany and Denmark, and the gravelly loam vineyards of Mount Barker and Frankland; there is much to discover.

The cool climate wines of the region show perfumed elegance and a delicate balance of acid and structure. The region’s winemakers are focused and aware of the importance of regional style.

The Great Southern is this year celebrating 50 years since the initial planting of vineyards in the region. These initial plantings in the Great Southern marked the commencement of the commercial wine industry in WA.

What grape varieties do you make wine from at 3drops? And are they all sourced from your own vineyards?

All our fruit is sourced from our own vineyards. We produce white varieties of Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Our red wines are Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernets and Shiraz.

What are your own personal favourites from those you produce, and why?

Always difficult to say which varieties I enjoy …… it depends so much on what I’m eating, the weather, who I’m sharing the wine with …. and so many other things.

Riesling is the regional hero of the Great Southern and our vineyards produce this variety consistently well. I also love the palate richness of Chardonnay and the delicate balance between fruit and oak.

I am definitely a fan of Pinot Noir, it’s such a great expression of the vineyard site and the vintage. The cherry aromas and the underlying savouriness of a Pinot makes it one of my favourites. Pinot is also a wonderful wine to cellar and provides so many opportunities for food matching.

What is your absolute favourite wine and food pairing? And what should we keep in mind when matching food and wine?

Riesling and Albany Rock Oysters is our classic regional food match. I also love crispy skin salmon with Chardonnay.

Older Pinot Noir with those earthy, savoury characters goes so well with mushroom risotto.
Shiraz and chocolate is also wonderful. Great wine is very much a part of enjoying food …… turning an ordinary meal into something special.

As a woman working in the wine industry, have you faced any particular challenges where your gender has ever been an issue?

Although most of my business associates are men, I have found those in the wine industry to be incredibly supportive. Producers in our region are very open to sharing information. As with other industries if you have good people around you it’s possible to achieve …… there is always someone that can assist.
In many ways I believe being a woman has been an advantage in my role. Women are good at multi tasking, are able to keep ‘many balls in the air’ and are confident about asking for help when needed.

What’s your number one tip for tasting wine?

Try wines whenever you have the opportunity, even when you don’t think it’s a variety that you’ll enjoy. Taking the time to taste can be such a journey of discovery.

If there was one thing you could tell the sisterhood of wine-lovers out there, what would it be?

That wine is there to be discovered ….. Taste, Savour, Remember …….