Sarah Crowe grew up in the coastal town of Wollongong, south of Sydney in New South Wales. One day she hopped in the car and went a few hours up-state to the Hunter Valley to do a bit of vine pruning. (Apparently, that’s what people who study Horticulture in them there parts sometimes do.)
After a few weeks working in the vineyards she figured that the winemaking gig didn’t look so hard. So she thought she’d give it a whirl.
Sarah is now a highly respected wine maker, working her magic and winning awards in what is still a very male dominated world. Here is her fabulous story!
When, where and how did you first enter the wine industry?
I came to the Hunter Valley to do 5 weeks pruning of the grapevines in winter 2001. My background was in Horticulture and I thought; “They are just plants and dirt, I can do this!”.
You’re currently the Senior Winemaker at Bimbadgen. How long have you been with the company, and what does your role involve day-to-day?
I started at Bimbadgen in September 2010 and have just completed my third harvest. I’m now getting a good grip on our vineyards and the individual potential of the various blocks and varieties. Each day here is so varied depending on the time of the year, and that’s part of why I love my job so much.
During harvest I spend a lot of time in the vineyard sampling and tasting to decide on harvest date, or I’m driving the forklift unloading grapes and tipping them into the grape press.
Other times of the year involve a lot of work in the lab doing blending trials and putting the final wine blends together. I also spend some time of the road pouring our wines for sommeliers and bottle shop buyers, helping to sell the wines.
What is the philosophy at Bimbadgen?
It’s all about the wine… and the experiences you have whilst enjoying it.
What is your personal favourite from the range of wines you make?
The wine I drink the most of at home would be our 2012 Estate Chardonnay. It’s so good with so many different foods! I also really enjoy making this wine. Chardonnay can be called “the Winemakers wine” because we can do so much to manipulate it every step of the way. I love experimenting with the grapes and trying new processes and techniques and Chardonnay is the perfect variety for this.
Describe your favourite food and wine pairing and why?
Champagne and parmesan cheese. Try it!
Best way to spend a Sunday afternoon?
Long lunch with my friends enjoying nice wines and good food and with plenty of laughs.
If there was one thing you could tell the sisterhood of wine lovers out there, what would it be?
Drink what you enjoy when you enjoy it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t go back to drinking white wine after red!