McLeish Estate - Uncorked
IN GRAPE DEMAND
JESSICA MCLEISH OF THE HUNTER VALLEY’S MCLEISH ESTATE WINES DISCUSSES JOINING THE FAMILY BUSINESS AND SUPPORTING THE AUSTRALIAN WINE INDUSTRY AS A WINE SHOW JUDGE.
Why did you decide to follow your parents into a career in wine?
I first knew I wanted to go down this career path when a close family friend (also a winemaker) had me along on work experience, working vintage in Bordeaux. As soon as I started walking through the winery, I knew this is what I needed to be doing. I realised just how much I craved the creativity and versatility a role in the wine industry would offer.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career, and why?
The influence of strong women in the Australian wine industry continues to influence my career and inspire me daily. My mum, Maryanne, created a successful wine company in the late 1980s. She has the ability to remain focussed on detail and adapt to trends in the wine industry, and all while following her own passion and not allowing outside influences effect her decisions.
Samantha Connew (owner and winemaker of Stargazer Wines) has been a strong role model in forging equality in the wine industry. I first met her at the Australian Wine Research Institute and she encouraged me to take on my first wine show associate judging role. I am incredibly grateful that she could see my ability and what I would add to the wine show.
What has it meant to you being a judge at wine shows around the country?
Being part of Australia’s wine show circuit has given me the opportunity to seek and award wines that show diversity, awarding the left-of-field and exposing these wines to the public. In recent years I have been an associate judge at the Hunter Valley Wine Show, Hunter Valley Boutique Wine Show and the Australian Small Winemakers Show. The Sydney Royal Wine Show allowed me to unearth the wines of the show and present to sponsors and at the Sydney Royal Wine Experience.
What advice would you give to a young chef, sommelier or waiter wanting to broaden their wine education?
Love what you do and never stop wanting to learn. From personal experience having an understanding of food science is a bonus. These attributes, in turn, allows quick adaptability and help you evolve to an ever-changing wine industry.
Wine education whether through university, TAFE, wine retailers, or travelling to wine regions will help young professionals to gain a sound knowledge of different varietals and winemaking practices.
What is your favourite wine and food pairing?
Sydney Rock oysters and semillon – classic flavours. Keep it simple, good produce, done well.
What are you favourite McLeish Estate wines, and why?
The McLeish semillon has always been a favourite. Our single vineyard has produced a pedigree of outstanding wines over the past 33 years and the McLeish semillon range is always captivating, as it offers a history of our award-winning vineyard.
Jessica McLeish (left) with parents and founders of McLeish Estate Wines, Robert and Maryanne McLeish.
Photo Credit: Chris Elfes ::: Article Credit: FoodServiceNews