International Women's Day - Introducing Winemaker Emma Gillespie
Today is International Women's Day and what better day to officially announce Emma Gillespie as Winemaker at Millbrook Winery!
We are thrilled to have Emma on board as she brings with her an innate knowledge of Western Australian wine and extensive winery experience.
The Halliday Wine Companion recently reported that the wine industry is a traditionally male-dominated sector, where women represent just 30% of all workers. Out of that 30%, only a third of women hold senior roles.
On International Women's Day today (and everyday) we celebrate all of the exceptional women who passionately work within the wine industry in Australia and around the world.
Emma, alongside many other women in wine, are helping to pave the way for future female winemakers, viticulturists, sommeliers and industry leaders. We are extremely proud of Emma and all that she has achieved so far in her career.
Emma's winemaking career began in 2011 after she graduated from Curtin University in Perth, with a Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology.
Her impressive career has taken her around the world and a real highlight of her overseas work experience was being able to work in the United States for a high-end, small batch wine producer.
In 2015, Emma travelled to Margaret River where she joined the highly regarded and award-winning Deep Woods Estate winemaking team as a cellar hand. Her skill and determination were quickly recognised and she was appointed as the Assistant Winemaker that same year.
After two years working as Assistant Winemaker, Emma became the Operations Manager at Deep Woods Estate, where she works alongside Chief Winemaker Julian Langworthy and Senior Winemaker Andrew Bretherton.
Emma is now leading the charge at Millbrook as Winemaker, where her passion and dedication to the Millbrook varietals is already apparent.
Wine Show Judging
Emma has also firmly established herself within the Western Australian wine judging scene.
She has been an integral part of the Perth Royal Wine Awards since 2016, where she completed three years as an associate judge and four years as a senior judge. Emma is also now on the Perth Royal Wine Awards Committee.
Emma has also been a senior judge at the Swan Valley Wine Show for the last two years. On being able to judge at this show Emma said: "I relish the exposure to the focus of this show, Chenin Blanc, and getting to see Margaret River and Swan Valley producers who are producing such world-class wines."
In 2020 she also accepted the prestigious role of senior judge at the Wine Show of Western Australia.
Emma's Passion for Millbrook Winery
One of the reasons Emma is so passionate about producing wines at Millbrook is "because the varietals are allowed to really speak for themselves". She said:
“I love being able to take the grapes in a style direction of my choosing. Light and fruity, or richer and textured. Finding that sweet spot is important, and the Millbrook style lays somewhere in between.”
In the cellar, winemaking is kept hands-off. Emma said, "I wanted to create wines yielding maximum expression of the varietal characters, by taking a more minimalist winemaking approach."
This approach matches the Millbrook Restaurant ethos, which she finds inspiring and said, “[she strives] to produce the varietals that not many other people do. To offer something different and interesting that people may not have tried before is a great opportunity.”
Shop Emma's Favourite Wine
Millbrook 2021 Estate Viognier
“At the moment my favourite wine is the Millbrook Estate Viognier. The fruit for this year's vintage has just come into the winery and is currently fermenting in our large format oak. I'm also really enjoying the current release in bottle now, especially as I can match it with autumnal dishes such as slow roasted lamb shoulder or mushroom risotto."
– Millbrook Winemaker Emma Gillespie
"Viognier is one of the key varieties for Millbrook and it's got a good reputation. It has all the Turkish apricot, red apple, orchard blossom, frangipani and honeysuckle characters that we associate with viognier, but it also has a mineral seam of acidity that scrapes through the wine, keeping things fresh and lively. It's a beautiful wine, again."
– 95 Points, Erin Larkin, Halliday Wine Companion 2023