Saddler’s Creek was established in Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley in 1990 by a group of enthusiastic wine entrepreneurs. Their guiding principle was to produce wines with an intense, lush flavour, which still have the ability to be enjoyed with the finest of foods, and it is a principle that is still followed today.
While based in the Hunter Valley, they make wine from grapes grown in several of Australia’s premium growing regions – including Langhorne Creek and McLaren Vale – as well as the Hunter.
More than 85% of Saddler’s Creek’s domestic sales are directly to consumers and not through commercial on-line wine sellers or retail shops. So here’s your unique opportunity to taste their wines at special Fabulous Ladies’ Wine Society members prices, and become one of their ever-growing fans! (Go check out the special offer they’ve put together for you in our April 2015 Online Wine Club.)
When Kim interviewed the (very modest!) Brett Woodward, chief winemaker at Saddler’s Creek, he was quick to mention that the success of Saddler’s Creek is not only due to their wines, but also to the commitment of the fantastic team that he has worked with over the years.
One particular team member he called the ‘backbone of the business’. That person is Vanessa Schrieber.
“Vanessa is the glue that keeps us all together” said Brett. “She’s extremely talented, loyal, good at her job and a downright lovely person who gives her best to everything she does”.
Vanessa’s love of all things wine goes way back to childhood when her family, including her winemaker father Phil Ryan (formally of McWilliams Wines, and now consultant to Saddler’s Creek), planted a vineyard in the Hunter Valley. Whilst many of her school friends were earning their pocket money on a checkout at Woolies, she was grape picking on her family farm and helping out in the winery with her dad.
After a couple of years working overseas, the lure of the good life pulled her back home to the Hunter where she started work with Saddler’s Creek in 1998 as a Jill-of-all-trades. Seventeen years later she’s still there, running Saddler’s exclusive members club, Club Equus.
When we asked Vanessa what was so special about working at Saddler’s Creek, she was unequivocal: “The great wines of course,” she said. “And the fantastic team too. Plus the flexible work environment which allows me to do my job, whilst still being available for my kids’ school activities’’.
Phil Ryan, Vanessa’s father, has just released a range of new wines for Saddler’s Creek called Ryan’s Reserve. This year, he released his 2014 Ryan’s Reserve Chardonnay which is dedicated to his youngest daughter Stephanie who planted the vines in 1988.