Alexia Roberts chief winemaker for Penny’s Hill wine, bears the stamp of her decade-long experience in McLaren Vale.
With an abundant passion for the region; its Shiraz and Grenache especially, Alexia combined her outstanding skills with focus on evolving the full potential of the company-owned McLaren Vale single vineyards, source of generously avoured Penny’s Hill estate-produced reds. Equally, she works with premium cool climate ‘estates of mates’ in the adjoining Adelaide Hills to craft vibrant, pure and elegant white wines.
Alexia shares with Penny’s Hill founder, Tony Parkinson, a single-minded vision to produce what these regions do best, underpinned by an emerging single vineyard approach across the nuances of terroir and site.
Vintage 2014 showcases Alexia’s handiwork emphatically. Penny’s Hill has risen to Red 5-Star James Halliday status, its wines are scoring gold medals and high-pointed reviews with regularity. In both 2016 and 2017 Penny’s Hill was awarded the ‘Best Australian Red Wine’ at the prestigious Mundus Vini competition in Germany, as well as ‘World’s Best Cabernet’ in 2016 at Concours International des Cabernets in France, all career highlights; for Alexia the winemaker and for Penny’s Hill, the brand.
After working vintages in Italy [Emilia Romagna] and France [Burgundy] and producing wines from South Australia’s key regions: Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills, Langhorne Creek and Coonawarra, Alexia completed the Advanced Wine Assessment Course (AWAC) course and her contribution to the greater industry includes membership of wine show committees, judging at McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills wine shows and a growing record of medals, trophies and accolades.
Beyond the premium estate wines under the Penny’s Hill label, Alexia is responsible for the parent Galvanized Wine Group’s stable of regional brands, all driven by McLaren Vale reds and Adelaide Hills whites. A significant contributor to the Australian wine industry, Alexia’s future as a talented and passionate winemaker is assured.
Eliteror.com: How did you become a winemaker? What inspired you?
AR: With a passion for both science and the outdoors, I undertook work experience at Penfolds and was lucky enough to be able to tag along with the winemakers for the week and instantly fell in love with the notion of a career in winemaking.
Eliteror.com: What does winemaking mean to you?
AR: I aim to produce wines that are a true expression of both the variety and terroir. Our Penny’s Hill wines are all about purity, focus and elegance with fine balance and drinkability.
Eliteror.com: What was your proudest achievement to date, in winemaking?
AR: Being awarded the ‘World’s Best Cabernet’ trophy in 2016 at the Concours International de Cabernets in France was certainly a career highlight.
Eliteror.com: As a female winemaker, what were the challenges you faced being in a male-dominated industry?
AR: I haven’t ever been advantaged or disadvantaged for being female in this industry. I’ve been incredibly lucky to be able to juggle a young family and a career in winemaking with plenty of support and flexibility. Regardless of gender, those who are passionate, creative and driven will be most likely to succeed in this industry.
Eliteror.com: Do you think women make wine differently as compared to men such as wine making styles, focus on different tastes?
AR: I’m not convinced that women make wine differently from men. I think the variance in winemaking style comes from the personality of the individual. I do believe that generally women are more organised and have a more structured approach compared to many males. I guess that could be advantageous when organising vintage logistics, especially in a compact harvest!
Eliteror.com: What advice would you give to women out there who wants to study Oenology and become a winemaker?
AR: Find a career that you are passionate about and ask questions to those who you admire and respect. The wine industry is a lot of fun but also hard work, so be prepared to work hard, play hard and enjoy the ride.
Eliteror.com: What would you like to see happen for women in the wine industry?
AR: Let’s hope in 10 years’ time we won’t be discussing gender!
Penny’s Hill can be purchased from Vinomofo (https://www.vinomofo.com.sg)