Brooke Blair - Lead Winemaker
Brooke Blair grew up in Mount Gambier, a thriving community in the heart of South Australia’s Limestone Coast, and in amongst one of Australia’s most prolific wine regions. Although she first started her tertiary studies in commerce, she soon changed her career direction and decided to pursue winemaking.
After graduating from the University of Adelaide with a degree in Oenology, Brooke spent three vintages working at Hollick Wines in Coonawarra. With a wealth of local experience, she then travelled to Spain and enjoyed her first vintage in the Northern Hemisphere. However, Canada captured Brooke’s heart for the next 11 years. While based in Canada, she also had the opportunity to travel to Chile and work on the 2008 vintage, strengthening her winemaking skills further. After more than a decade of winemaking in Canada, Brooke decided it was time to come home Down Under.
Upon Brooke’s return to Australian soil, she continued her winemaking career in The Riverland and Currency Creek wine regions, before being offered a winemaking position with Peter Lehmann Wines. Since joining the Casella Family Brands team in 2017, with the acquisition of Shaw Family Vintners, Brooke has consistently worked on improving the quality and consistency of the Shaw label offering. Her success in this endeavour was demonstrated in the 2022 wine show season, with every wine produced receiving a gold medal at one of the major capital city shows. This is a remarkable achievement, as you can count the total amount of gold medal-winning merlot wines in Australia on only one hand.
Brooke also has the unique ability to tweak bulk wine blends to meet demanding customer requirements. Having spent several years working at Hollick Estate in Coonawarra, she has the experience, knowledge and ability to drive the success of Brand’s Laira into the future. She is thrilled to be a part of such an esteemed winemaking team and looks forward to upholding the rich legacy of Brand’s Laira of Coonawarra as Senior Winemaker.
5 MINUTES WITH BROOKE
My parents, who allowed me the freedom to follow my passion.
Let the fruit express itself.
Blending. It’s such a complex process and it’s really interesting to see how certain wines complement each other (or not).
I would recommend the Brands Laira One Seven One Cab Sauv – made from established old vines on the famous Terra Rossa soils, it embodies the true essence of everything a Coonawarra Cabernet should be.
Drinking wine and spending time with friends.
I lived in Canada for 11 years.
Good question….I enjoy cooking so maybe a chef.
The wine, the food and the welcoming community.
Tawny port and Stilton cheese, it’s a match made in heaven.
The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton.
The Usual Suspects.
Hard to narrow it down but a few favourites are Groove Armada, Smashing Pumpkins and Halsey.