“I love the start of spring in the vineyard when everything starts growing again – it’s a nice change from the starkness of winter.”

Asking Sarah Fagan to choose between winemaking and snow skiing might have her pausing to think. She’s a woman who loves to travel and both winemaking and skiing, two of her favourite things, have enabled her to do just that. Sarah’s done vintage in America, Italy and Germany and has skied in Australia (Thredbo mainly, where she first skied), Canada and Japan, so has achieved a happy balance that’s enabled her to work and play the way she wants.

Sarah’s been a winemaker at De Bortoli Wines since 2005 but joined the company in 2003, working as a cellar hand in the Yarra Valley. She’d grown up on a farm in New South Wales and wanted to work in agriculture, enrolling in an Agriculture degree at Sydney University. A growing attraction to vineyards and winemaking saw her transfer to a Wine Science degree at Charles Sturt University. While completing her degree she applied for a three-month job at De Bortoli. She never left. Chief Winemaker Steve Webber saw in Sarah someone who was “imaginative with great attention to detail and a very good palate” and had her join the winemaking team, first with white wines before moving onto red wines and rosé.

Sarah was a Len Evans scholar in 2008 and a Gourmet Traveller Young Winemaker of the Year award winner in 2009.

A tip from Sarah

"Really chilled rosé out of a tumbler on the back deck is a pretty nice thing."

Did you know?

Sarah’s proudest winemaking moment was when the 2010 PHI Pinot Noir won the Len Evans Memorial Trophy for Champion Wine of Show at the National Wine Show of Australia.