Sarah Crowe has been exceptionally busy over the past 12 months, but she's taken it all in her stride.
Sarah Crowe has been in hot demand since being named James Halliday’s Winemaker of the Year for 2017. On the agenda have been, “Lots of interviews, overseas travel and wine dinners,” she says, all the while maintaining a laser-like focus on her work in the Yarra Valley’s Yarra Yering winery.
When the award was announced, the fact that Sarah is the first female Winemaker of the Year caused a media frenzy and that buzz has had a lot of traction. “I have been surprised by the invitations to attend women’s leadership lunches, sometimes to present my wines, but often to simply share my story of being a woman in a male-dominated industry,” Sarah says.
It hasn’t all been hobnobbing at events, however, and Sarah has had some clear goals for Yarra Yering in the year gone by. “It was a golden opportunity for me to take Yarra Yering out into the market and show consumers that we are here, quietly and diligently working away, to continue making iconic wines. Many people had a connection to the brand because of Dr Bailey Carrodus, who founded the winery in 1969. After he passed away in 2008, there were some who felt that connection was lost. The past year has been about reconnecting with those people, engaging new customers and showing that the future of the brand is in good hands,” she says.
Another flow-on effect for Yarra Yering has been more interest in the winery. “Visitation to our cellar door has increased dramatically and often people come through with their Wine Companions tucked firmly under their arms,” Sarah says.
As far as challenges, Sarah points to achieving work-life balance, “I hate to disappoint people, but I haven’t physically been able to do everything that’s come across my desk in the past year.”
It’s been a successful year for Yarra Yering and that momentum is set to continue in the year ahead. “There’ll be a few more overseas trips to promote our wines, one to Hong Kong and one to London for the Australian Women in Wine Awards,” she says. “The latter has prompted a group of Yarra Valley wine women to team up to promote our work and region collaboratively, and we’re looking to do a few of our own events in the coming months.”
Stay tuned to find out the Winemaker of the Year for 2018, which will be announced at The Awards on August 2.