Women in Wine: Lorrae St Vincent
As Laboratory Supervisor, Lorrae St Vincent is at the frontline of wine production at Brokenwood. A passion for sustainability has also seen her take a leading role in moving the business and other Hunter Valley vineyards towards a more sustainable future.
How did you get started in the industry and what inspired you to work in the wine industry?
I think I was that person just in the right place at the right time. I finished my Science Degree and whilst looking for a job thought I would benefit from getting some laboratory experience under my belt and applied for a casual vintage lab job with Tyrrells Wines – I ended up loving it so much I stayed!
What qualities do you think it takes to succeed in a traditionally male-dominated industry?
- Assertiveness and confidence.
- Perseverance - if at first you don’t succeed keep trying and keep asking questions.
- A sense of Humour- you have to be able to not take yourself too seriously, keep things light and fun!
- Hard working- you have to lead from the front and gain respect from others by being the last to leave and the first to work.
- A willingness to listen to others’ opinions and keep learning.
What advice would you give to young women just starting out or considering a career in winemaking?
It’s a really rewarding and fun industry to be part of, no vintage is ever the same and there’s always room to innovate and be creative.
What is your favourite wine to make, and your favourite wine to drink?
I would have to say that Chardonnay is a personal favourite, the style we are making right now in Australia is just so delicious. It’s also a variety where the winemaker can really make it their own by making subtle changes and well considered interventions.
Do you have any role models or mentors who have been an important part of your career journey?
When I started in the industry there were not many women in winemaking jobs, but I was lucky that my first lab supervisor was a female who readily shared her experience, knowledge and passion for the industry which ended up keeping me interested and wanting to know more about wine.
What are you most excited about in the Australian wine industry right now?
The direction the industry is taking in regard to sustainability. It seems to be gaining momentum and companies are looking at ensuring their green credentials are credible and transparent which puts the industry on the pathway to being around for generations to come.
Also exciting is that the number of younger women coming through as Oenology graduates and applying to be vintage casuals has definitely increased over the years here at Brokenwood which is really encouraging to see.
In your career, have you had any standout achievements? What was that experience like?
One of my most recent achievements has been to be involved in being one of the first Hunter Valley wineries to become a certified member of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia. At the time, it was probably more relief than anything, but it also ended up a proud moment knowing that we had achieved certification after a company-wide commitment to improve our sustainability credentials was endorsed by management and embraced by all staff back in 2013.
What are some of your favourite highlights throughout your career in wine?
We’ve recently launched a new range called Twenty70, “The Wild Child of Brokenwood” which is all about using sustainable packaging, minimal intervention in winemaking and fruit sourced from Sustainable Winegrowing Australia Certified Vineyards.