To celebrate this prestigious nomination, Sarah shared her favourite wines and parts of Canberra with us.
What does being shortlisted the Women in Wine Awards in the Owner/Operator category mean to you?
It's such an honour to be nominated as a finalist in the Women in Wine Awards. I never thought I would one of three nominees nationally and I must admit I did cry with happiness when I received the news. I love working hard and making a positive impact on the wine industry within the Canberra region and supporting women in a male-dominated industry.
Tell us the history of Lake George Winery.
Lake George Winery is a Canberra icon - it was one of the first wineries to be established by Dr. Edgar Reik in the Canberra Region in 1971. Situated next to Lake George also makes it a very interesting terroir to produce wonderful wines.
My husband Anthony and I purchased Lake George Winery last year, after I sold our previous vineyard Summerhill Road in Bywong. Lake George Winery is a much bigger operation with 20 acres under vines and also a restaurant and cellar door.
How did you get involved in the wine industry?
My wine journey commenced ten years ago when I was on a blind date and met a handsome confident man who was studying winemaking. I thought well he could make the wine and I could enjoy drinking it. Little did I know then that I would end up marrying him and we would buy our first winery together Summerhill Road and now a bigger venture as Lake George winery.
What makes Canberra District wines so special?
I think we have the best terroir in Australia (but I may be biased). Being cool climate wine country, we can grow some amazing vines and are planting new varieties. In short, we're making some seriously delicious wines. Of course, being a small community of passionate winemakers we enjoy getting together and sampling each other’s wines.
What’s your favourite wine and why?
My wine are like children - I couldn't possibly choose a favourite wine. I will say that I am mad about Rose, so much so I made a batch of my own this year. Our 2019 Rose, made by Nick O’Leary, is a blush colour and dry in style, using three different red grapes to give it some rich flavours. It is a delicious drop.
Visiting Lake George Winery is an experience in itself. What do visitors love to do?
Apart from wine tasting, we offer art classes each month, cupcake decorating for kids in the school holidays and you can now stay overnight in our Airbnb. We are out to launch our new private wine cellar experience and will introduce seated wine tasting soon. We also offer a wine tasting experience where you ‘step into my boots’ for a day as we explore behind the scenes of the vineyard and end the day with tasting wines in the vines while watching the sun go down over the mountains.
After visiting the vineyard where do you recommend guests visit?
I am a sixth-generation Canberran with links to the region including as far-reaching as Queanbeyan Cooma, Gundaroo and Collector. There is always something for everyone here in Canberra, and my top 5 are:
- Visit the Australian War Memorial, it’s one of the world’s great museums and don’t forget to walk down Anzac Parade to the Lake.
- The National Arboretum is fascinating and has great coffee and a fabulous playground.
- Canberra Glassworks, home to international glass artists and you can not only watch items being created but you can book in to create your own.
- DESIGN Canberra is coming up in November and it’s a must do.
- And I love shopping and the Canberra Centre has an amazing range of speciality shops and you cannot leave Canberra without shopping.
We know you love a cheeky glass of vino, but what are your favourite spots for coffee, brunch, dinner and a drink?
My favourite place for coffee is Some Cafe in Collector and I love catching up with neighbours.
When I am in Canberra, I love Biganellis located in the National Film and Sound Archive - Ben and his team provide great customer service.
Bookplate at the National Library of Australia and its Leonard French stained glass windows provide the perfect setting inside or outside on the lake's edge having breakfast, and they make the best coffee.
Canberra’s best-kept secret?
Having a beautiful mountain, Mount Ainslie provides many nature lovers with the opportunity to hike for an hour or so to a beautiful view, clearing one's mind and enjoy being in the bush. This hike is so close to the city, there's no excuse not to fit in a visit. Don’t forget to pay your respects at the Indigenous Memorial on the way down the mountain.
Good luck to Sarah in the 2019 Australian Women in Wine Awards.