Yarra Yering

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Sarah Crowe, 2017 Australian winemaker of the year, and head winemaker at Yarra Yering, has a simple philosophy: drink less, drink better. She produces some of Australia’s most collectible wines – elegant, complex and powerful, the type secreted away in the cellar for the most deserving of occasions. In their tireless pursuit of perfection, Yarra Yering have often managed to find it. Read our Q&A with Sarah Crowe.
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You are one of Australia’s leading winemakers, what does Australian wine mean to you?

We are massively spoilt for choice in this country when it comes to finding quality wine easily.

Australian wine means to me; authentic, quality, affordable (on a global comparison), accessible, delicious and expresses the life work of people I’m proud to call my friends and colleagues who love what they do and rib each other constantly to challenge themselves to strive to always achieve more.

You’ve been winning awards since 2009 when you won the Hunter Valley Rising Star of the Year Award, in 2016 you were named the James Halliday Winemaker of the Year for 2017 and in 2021 lead the Yarra Yering team to be awarded the Halliday Winery of the Year for 2022. What do you think is the key to your success?

Yarra Yering’s founder was a notable personality in the Australian wine industry and I guess I feel some pressure to do him and his legacy proud but even before this I was probably my own worst critic, it’s the inner voice that makes you strive to do better each and every year.

How did you get started in Wine? Has wine always been a passion?

Wine is a second career for me, I studied and worked in horticulture after school because I always loved being outdoors and working with my hands. After a few years I went overseas backpacking and saw my first vineyard in all its autumn glory. That was the moment I though perhaps I could work with grapes when I returned to Australia. I made a call to my favourite wine producer and asked if I could work in their vineyard. They said yes!

You joined the Yarra Yering team in September 2013, tell us what is so special about Yarra Yering?

It’s an amazing vineyard site but it’s sometimes hard to distill that down to one or two things. A few notable points would be our ancient soils, gentle north facing slope, dry farming and old vines and we can’t disregard then people wok grow and make it. The real proof is in the glass, when you taste the wines from this site, you sense their power and know they deserve an element of respect.

What are your hot tips for the future of Australian wine?

Australian wine is a really exciting space. We are not bound by the rules and regulations or out European counterparts which means that basically anything goes. We can grow any varietal and blend for flavour, some very delicious wines are being made and it’s an ever-evolving landscape.

What is your favourite food and wine pairing this Summer?

A personal favourite of mine over summer is the best quality cooked prawns you can find and a delicious Australian Chardonnay, it’s such a simple entertaining combination. The weather this summer is a little on the mild side though and I have found myself reaching for summer reds, lighter bodied and fragrant styles and blends. If it’s a warm day I might chill these styles and enjoy with some cured meats, salty anchovies and charred sourdough.