Today we are celebrating our very own Head Winemaker Louisa Rose.
We sat with Louisa to discuss her incredible and inspiring influence in wine and people for over 30-years. We asked Louisa a series of questions, eagerly awaiting every response. We hope you enjoy this little insight and better yet the wines that Louisa has crafted!
What has been your biggest ‘wow’ career moment as a winemaker?
Being asked to take on the role as Head of Winemaking for Hill-Smith Family Estates in 2006 – an honour and somewhat daunting to follow in the footsteps of the (few) great people that held this position previously.
How are you choosing to challenge the wine industry and/or yourself?
I lead a team of winemakers who are passionate about quality, sustainability, and food – We have worked on making a portfolio of wines that are delicious, low intervention, reflective of the place they come from, and are mostly wild ferment and all vegan and food friendly.
What are new sustainability practices you are championing?
It is exciting after decades of working with Environmental management systems and internal sustainability practices, to now be making wines that are certified with our national sustainability programme – “Sustainable Winegrowing Australia’. It is not an end to the process of course – sustainability is a continual improvement process. All our wines from the 2023 will bear the SWA logo. We are also very excited to be involved with the international wineries for Climate Action (IWCA), a global group of wineries united by science and the UN Race to Zero campaign.
2020 and 2021 were tough years for many industries globally and the Australian wine industry was no exception. How did you overcome the challenges that were presented and what did you learn?
One thing about working with a 6 generational family is that you realise that there isn’t much that’s new in the world! Don’t panic or overreact, spread your risk and take a long-term view. Being consistent and valuing your relationships is equally so. Don’t forget that you are making wines for people to enjoy – so they must be relevant for your market. As far as mother nature goes… every vintage is (at least) a little bit different from the last, so focussing on what the grapes and vines are telling you to do to make the best wine is important.
In your opinion, what makes Australian wine ‘world-class’?
The array of unique terroirs, the oldest continually producing wine grape vines in the world, and people that grow and make the wines - who are never afraid to try something different to evolve their wines to make them better and relevant for their consumers.
If you had three words to describe Australian wine, what would it be?
Delicious, versatile, timeless.
Which wine(s) in your portfolio are you most proud of and why?
You can’t choose between your children in a public forum!
Who is someone (male or female) (within or outside of the liquor industry) that has inspired you? And why?
My mum, Elizabeth. She has multiple degrees and qualifications including a PhD. She taught me by example that I could do anything that I wanted to and be anything I wanted to be. I wouldn’t be me without her unconditional love and belief in me or her advice and help along the way.
Your favourite part of the wine making process and why?
The vineyards- it’s where the magic happens, where nature, the terroir and the vintage come together to give us the building blocks to work with
Your favourite styles and varietals to enjoy?
This depends on the circumstance at the time – the occasion, the food, the people, the weather…. It’s having the options of different styles that is important. I suppose that they have to be delicious and food friendly though.