Women in Wine series – Penny Jones, Bay of Fires Winemaker and Manager
Penny Jones is the Winemaker and Manager at Bay of Fires. Born and bred in Hobart, Tasmania, a dedication to food and wine has always been in Penny's blood.
If asked to pick a favourite wine, Penny will tell you there are way too many great and enjoyable wines in the world to pick a favourite and she thoroughly enjoys trying new ones, but her go-to varietal is Chardonnay.
With a background in hospitality, her love for all things food and wine was inevitable, however it was one particular Hobart underground restaurant that really got her hooked on wine. Penny eventually studied winemaking at university in Adelaide and in her final year of study, completed her first vintage in the cellar at Petaluma. After graduating as Dux of Oenology in 2004, she stayed on in the Adelaide Hills to work her way through the ranks of Petaluma, attaining a winemaking position at Petaluma in 2010.
During her nine and a half years at Petaluma, Penny completed vintages in Oregon and China and travelled through parts of France, Germany, Scotland, Vietnam, India and the UK. After 13 years away from home, Penny eventually made it back to her home state of Tasmania, where she joined the Bay of Fires team to launch Eddystone Point as Winemaker in 2013.
One of the greatest things for Penny, and the reason she loves being a winemaker is that every day is different, work life is never dull and there are numerous travel opportunities. Penny finds it equally rewarding that the premium wines are the result of well over a year of hard work and commitment, from a passionate and committed team of people.
A successful and devoted winemaker, Penny Jones says she has been lucky over her career to work with so many inspirational people. One key role model for Penny is Stephen Gorge, Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir guru from Ashton Hills whose sage advice stays with her still to this day, 'We're always learning'.
Women in Wine series with Belinda Sinclair, Grant Burge White and Sparkling Winemaker
Belinda joined Grant Burge Wines in 2008 and has been the White Winemaker at the Krondorf Winery since 2010. Belinda is passionate about white wines, in particular Riesling, which is one of the truly noble white wine varieties and is grown to a world-class standard in the Eden Valley in South Australia.
Belinda is 100% focussed on crafting delicate, fruit driven, expressive wines that reflect the unique characteristics of the vineyard. This approach has been recognised across the industry with multiple Gold Medals and Trophies for Grant Burge Riesling, Semillon and Rosé in recent years.
Delicate white wines like Riesling require the winemaker to act as a dedicated caretaker of the fruit, gently ushering it from grape to glass. A deft touch and careful attention to detail is paramount in respecting the intrinsic beauty of these varieties and their origins. With a determined approach to producing wines that reach the pinnacle of their potential, Belinda takes great pride in crafting wines that are technically pristine, food friendly and above all, enjoyable to drink.
While not from a winemaking family, Belinda's parents always had premium wine in the house and encouraged her to smell and taste these from a very young age. Fascinated by the idea that wine was made from grape juice and enraptured by all the different wine styles that could be made, Belinda made it her mission to discover the science and secrets of winemaking. Once she started, she fell even more in love with the craft.
Belinda's career is full of success, but some of her greatest achievements have been the double trophy wins for the 2015 Vigneron Reserve Eden Valley Riesling at the 2019 Royal Adelaide Wine Show and taking home Best Riesling and Best South Australian White Wine which was both an unexpected honour and fabulous achievement.
Belinda enjoys everything about her profession especially the unique blend of science and art that is integral to the process of creating great wines. She thrives off the adrenaline of seeing wines flourish and mature in the winery, each developing their own unique personality, and nurturing them until they reach the bottle and ultimately deliver joy to those who consume them.
When talking about the future of winemaking, Belinda says she hopes more wineries, of all sizes and scales, embrace the more sentimental side of winemaking. To see all wineries strive to create truly great wines with personality, soul and integrity - wines that speak strongly of where they come from and the individuals that shape them, regardless of region, style or price-point.
Women in Wine series with Ella Hoban, White and Sparkling Winemaker at Tintara
For Ella Hoban, White and Sparkling Winemaker at Tintara, choosing a favourite wine is like choosing a favourite child. While she enjoys all wine, she is excited by stand out expressions of all different styles and varietals.
Coming from a family where sharing and enjoying wine was always an important part of family gatherings, Ella's inspiration to study the industry started from a young age. More professionally, Ella started winemaking straight out of a gap year post year 12 and says she feels like one of the lucky ones who loved their first choice of degree and had no need to explore other industries.
Since graduating, Ella gained invaluable experience working vintages in California, Spain, Langhorne Creek and Adelaide Hills and has become an active member in the wine community though her contributions on the Adelaide Hills Wine Show Committee and participation in various tasting groups.
With her determination and drive, Ella soon found herself to be the newest member of the team at Tintara. Here she will be able to showcase her experience beyond her years working on the white and sparkling portfolios for Hardys, House of Arras, Yarra Burn, Leasingham and Tintara – the perfect role for Ella who shows no bias towards a certain varietal.
Being new to the Tintara family means a 'typical day' isn't something Ella can yet describe, but she is looking forward to getting stuck into vintage and learning about new fruit and wines. One of the things she loves most about being a winemaker is the energy of harvest and the necessity to form a team of passionate people and work together to create great wines. She enjoys being able to sit back and share what the team has produced together and see how the wines contribute to the social rituals of others.
When asked what her greatest achievement has been to date, Ella humbly responds, "I hope that my greatest achievement will perpetually be yet to come!"
* Proof of Age (18+) must be provided to be elligible to win this prize. Drink responsibily.