I got my big break at the Coop of Villar del Arzobispo, where today I am known as “The Woman” by winning the first and only gold medal in Burdeos in 1997 with a Tempranillo. My next step was to open a specialty wine shop with the best selection of regional wines. I soon realized, however, that my passion was in the making of the wines, not selling them.
In 1999, I started working at Finca Luzon where after two weeks, I became the Production Manager of 11 million kilograms of grapes, mainly Monastrell and Tempranillo. The young wine scored 91 out of 100 points with Robert Parker which was a big break for the region.
Completing my Winemaker studies at the top of the class gave me the confidence to study Agricultural Engineering, something that as a dyslexic I would never have contemplated years earlier.
I met my former husband when I was making a 2000 vintage, who had just accepted a job in the Granite Belt of Queensland. I came to visit him in January 2001 and decided as you do to stay in Australia. With no job in Australia, no money in the bank and not speaking a word of English it is one of the adventures of my life.
I continued to fly back to Spain regularly for work. I got a job in France for Jacques and Francois Lurton from TheLurton family who own 27 wineries in Bordeaux, including Château Yquem. Their father Andre Lurton is one of the founders of Pessac-Leognan appellation.
Before I went to work in the Loire valley, at the last minute the winemaker canceled, so I got the opportunity to work in Rueda and Toro before going to France. I was the first Spanish winemaker, male or female, ever contracted by this company and they did so for another two vintages.
Back in Australia in 2002, one week before vintage, I was employed by Heritage Wines and Summit Estate Wines. At the time, my English was still very basic, but luckily wine doesn’t care what language I speak.
During my years of making wine in Queensland, I continued to go to France – Fitou, 2003; Minervois, 2005; and Corbieres, 2005. When in Australia, I also began judging wine shows, including the first-ever, all female wine panel of judges in an Australian wine show.
I left Heritage Wines to start a family in 2005, leaving them with a large number of medals and eight trophies. I was able to continue with Summit Estate Wines, and my daughter arrived in December 2009.
The next year Summit Estate Wines received the five-star winery status from James Halliday for the first time. He calls me the “Flying Spaniard” I felt like he had seen the warrior in me, as I am the longest working female winemaker in Queensland.
I left Summit Estate in 2014 leaving them with over 20 trophies and with three years as a five-star winery. I then began making wines with Robert Channon Wines and helped them re-establish his reputation as the best Verdelho in Australia.
In 2014 I started my company while working with Robert Channon Wines, been trained as a professional speaker and comedian, and I continue to work on my English. Wine remains my passion but helping people is an even greater one, so I’ve decided to combine the two.
I hope after taking one of my courses you become empowered and confident in choosing wines, drinking the wine you love and knowing why you do. Who knows, maybe after doing a few of my courses you will decide to continue your education to WISE, master sommelier or even become a winemaker.