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. 


Q. Who is the greatest influence in your winemaking life?

My parents, who allowed me the freedom to follow my passion.

Q. What is your approach to winemaking?

Let the fruit express itself.

Q. What is your favourite part of the winemaking process?

Blending. It’s such a complex process and it’s really interesting to see how certain wines complement each other (or not).

Q. What is your favourite Brand's Laira wine and why?

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.

Q. If you could invite one person to share a bottle of your wine with, who would it be?

Ricky Gervais.

Q. When you are not making wine, what do you enjoy doing?

Drinking wine and spending time with friends.

Q. What would people be surprised to know about you?

I lived in Canada for 11 years.

Q. If you weren’t making wine for a living, what would you be doing?

Good question….I enjoy cooking so maybe a chef.

Q. What do you love most about Coonawarra?

The wine, the food and the welcoming community.

Q. What is your favourite wine and food match, and why?

Tawny port and Stilton cheese, it’s a match made in heaven.

Q. Favourite book?

The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton.

Q. Favourite movie?

The Usual Suspects.

Q. Favourite music?

Hard to narrow it down but a few favourites are Groove Armada, Smashing Pumpkins and Halsey.