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Women In Wine – Meet Australia’s Best Female Winemakers

Women of Wine

Few things excite us more than seeing other women succeed, especially when they’re shining bright in largely male dominated industries. Women in wine in Australia are making a huge impact within the industry, and improving the way wine is produced in Australia. Cheers to that!

Helen McCarthy, St Hallett Senior Winemaker 

Women Of Wine
St Hallett’s Heather McCartney

Born and bred in England, Helen McCarthy, St Hallett Senior Winemaker has a wealth of wine experience, with over 22 years in the industry. Helen particularly loves working with Eden Valley fruit, and is passionate about sustainability.

“We are implementing sustainable practices, including increasing our energy efficiency and reducing all types of waste.  We are constantly challenging what it means to be efficient, effective and sustainable.

I am also passionate about embracing innovative techniques and technologies in the winemaking process from vineyard to packaging. I participate as a mentor in an innovation start up program run by Flinders University and regularly participate online workshops regarding winemaking innovations.” 

Penny Jones, Bay of Fires Winemaker and Manager

Women of Wine

It was Penny’s passion for food and wine that led her to a career in winemaking and becoming one of Australia’s leading women in wine. Originally from From Hobert, Tasmania, she graduated as Dux of Oenology in 2004 at Adelaide University.

Penny stayed on in the Adelaide Hills for almost a decade, working her way to winemaker at Petaluma winery, before returning home to Penny returned to her Tasmania to focus her passion on cool climate wines, as winemaker for Bay of Fires. Penny now boasts over 18 years in the wine industry and is leading the charge on crafting well recognised Tasmanian wines. 

Penny says “The wine industry is a challenging place to work in itself! No season is like the last, and that is part of what makes it so challenging and rewarding at the same time. Tasmania is really a tiny producer in terms of volume, and yet we are working to make wines that are world class. Part of the challenge is in getting our story out to the rest of the world.”

Penny notes as career experiences, “participating in the inaugural Ningxia Wine Challenge in 2012 and making wine in a fledging Chinese wine region. They are experiences I am never likely to forget.”

As for an unforgettable wine, Penny of course praises Bay of Fires.

“Our Chardonnay is an all-time favourite, with a juicy yet refined palate and a backbone of mineral acidity. This wine matches with any seafood dish on the menu and a great option to have around the table this Easter to enjoy with family and friends”.

Women in Wine
Lucy Clements, Operations Director, Premium Wineries ANZ

Lucy Clements, Operations Director, Premium Wineries ANZ

Lucy is Operations Director for Premium Wineries ANZ for Accolade Wines, responsible for the operational, financial, people, safety and quality winemaking aspects of St Hallett, Grant Burge, Bay of Fires, Petaluma, Hardy’s Tintara, Stonier, Houghton Nannup and Mud House. 

Lucy reveals that her passion is starting local and fostering collaboration and mentorship.

“My personal drive is starting on the home front and fostering a culture of collaboration, support and mentorship. I firmly believe we are stronger together than existing as separate wineries. Our premium team of eight wineries work incredibly closely together and we always support our industry and colleagues in other wineries. We have so many challenges ahead of us as an industry (China, Brexit, international trade, ongoing effects of COVID etc.) that we have to band together as a united unit.”

Lucy also told us about her biggest WOW moment in her women in wine career, noting, “Almost always my WOW moments have been visiting very special vineyards. In my career as a buyer and winemaker, I have travelled the world and seen many stunning sites, with the Douro, Hermitage and Napa being the highlights.”

“One of my go to sparkling wines would have to be Grant Burge Pinot Noir Sparkling Rosé. This is a fantastic drop to gift mum on Mother’s Day, enjoy with family and friends or toast special occasions.”  

Written by Shonagh Walker

Shonagh Walker is an award-winning lifestyle writer and author specialising in beauty, health, travel and pets.


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