The mystery of winemaking appeals to all who spend their lives talking, swirling, tasting and learning about it. For most people making the jump from front-of-house to winemaker remains a pipe dream, placed in the ‘one day’ basket: Georgia Dale is not most people.
With a rich history of working in fine dining restaurants throughout Melbourne, Georgia’s passion and appreciation for great wine grew quite organically, then one day “I had a light- bulb moment and thought, I’m going to become a winemaker!”.
Georgia began working in the Yarra Valley at Chandon, where her adoration for Blanc de Blanc and sparkling began to flourish. Having clearly impressed those at Chandon, she was invited to oversee production and manufacturing at Chandon’s off-site processing plant Whitlands, in King Valley. “It was an incredible learning traditional methods of sparkling wine production”. After three remarkable years at Chandon, Georgia made the move to Helen’s Hill to develop her still wine education.
Georgia is one of those rare breeds who somehow balances deadly ambition with an easy-going attitude. She has two-tonne of Heathcote Shiraz down at No.7 Healesville and we can’t wait to see what she does with it!
Andrea & Phil Davison
Andrea’s love for wine began quite innocently at a wine-pairing dinner, several years ago in the UK, where she experienced the magic that happens when food and wine collide perfectly. A few years later, having moved to Australia and on a visit to the Yarra Valley for a wine tour, she found herself recalling the wine knowledge she had picked up at the dinner to her friends. “I had soaked it up like a sponge! I realised how much I adored learning about wine and winemaking and thought to myself ‘I could do this!’”.
Phil had been a wine lover for years and had fallen in love with the Yarra Valley whilst living in Melbourne. When Andrea decided to turn her back on her long-term career as a chemistry teacher to start a course in viticulture and winemaking, Phil was in full support and even took a similar course. This perfect pair have been dabbling in winemaking at home ever since and they are very excited to be launching their own label “Pip & Ra” later this year (the name comes from their nick-names when they first met).
At No. 7 Healesville, Andrea and Phil are making a Yarra Valley Semillon, an unusual choice which will present a number of new challenges for them. “Red wine is arguably more fun to make, more hands on, but we fell in love with Semillon last year after we got our hands on some organic grapes and we can’t wait to explore the fruits’ potential.”
Energetic, exciting, forward thinking and fun – Andi and Phil are a hardworking and passionate duo here to make their mark on the future of Australian wine!
Chelsea Arnold & Jonathon Green
When Chelsea and Jon first met, it became immediately apparent that they both shared a love of wine. Heralding from backgrounds in corporate communications, journalism and publishing Chelsea and Jon have long dreamt of entering the wine industry, “Day trips became week long research trips, which lead to serious conversations on how we could get in a position of creating wine of our own!”
Like most winemakers, the power-couples’ long-term goal is to one day own their own vineyard and label, for now though they are excited about engaging more with the industry, “To play around with different varietals, and experience as much as possible in all aspects of the process”.
Outside of wine Chelsea can be found tearing up the forward line of the Melbourne AFLW’s Masters side, Jon works in the corporate communications field, with his spare time dedicated to home brewing and gin distillation. The definition of go-getters, the two are engaged to be married in August “We just wish the Chardonnay would be ready to serve at the wedding!”.
Self-professed wine gypsy, lover of funk, Yarra Valley native and all round good time, Tillie Johnston’s journey in wine has seen her bounce from Germany to Canada, New Zealand to the States before resettling in the Yarra Valley. Following the completion of a “completely unrelated under-graduate degree”, Tillie was encouraged by a friend to take a gap year and work a vintage overseas, “I realised quite quickly that I wanted to be a winemaker!”.
Tillie’s wine journey is definitely one to envy. Having started at Punt Road she then tackled the Nullarbor to Margaret River’s esteemed Leeuwin Estate where she worked for six-months, before bouncing from vintage to vintage working in British Columbia, New Zealand, Oregon, Hunter Valley and then to Germany before resettling in Australia at the world-renowned Yarra Yering. Working under one of Australia’s best winemakers (Sarah Crowe), Tillie says the experience has been incredible, “Sarah and her crew are just lovely people with a wealth of knowledge to share. Smart winemaking which is reflected in the end product!”.
Tillie’s long-term ambition is to one day get a wine label of her own up and running, “I want to create wines that express who I am as a person, and reflect the incredible journey I’ve been on in the last seven years”. As part of the Young Winemakers Program, Tillie will be creating a Pinot Noir, a wine we believe will encapsulate everything that Tillie is as a person: fruity, fun, strong, daring and cool!
Ryan ‘Spike’ Frazer
Ryan, (or Spike as he’s better known), has a unique combination of unbridled passion and exceptional calm, a man with the patience of a saint and the curiosity of a cat.
Spike’s interest in wine was a natural evolution from a passion for DIY home made produce - sourdough bread making, preserving and cider making. The annual community gathering for the Payten & Jones grape harvest led to a barter of half a tonne of Pinot being made in the family shed in Kangaroo Ground. Considering the lack of experience and equipment, the cuvée turned out surprisingly well. A philosophy was born, that with great fruit little intervention is necessary. To simply guide in the cellar, the end result can make for an honest, exciting and unique bottle of wine. Years of research, tasting and travel followed.
This Spring, Spike will plant a small vineyard of Gamay on the family property amongst their 500-tree olive grove. It will be a living experiment in Permaculture farming integrating livestock and companion plantings, complimented by his partner Betty’s studies in Plant Science.
This vintage Spike is working with 2-tonnes of beautiful organic Pinot Noir from Butterman’s Track in St Andrews and we’re very excited to see what he does with it!