Winemaker Profile: Renée Dale

Day job: Contract bottling winemaker at WineWorks Auckland.
Extracurricular job: Winemaker for my own wine brand {moi} wines & partner in Winery Doors.

It’s important for one to get a foot in the door of the industry at a young age but how does one keep it there? In my experience the wine industry doesn’t always lend itself to developing young talent coming through. It’s all very well doing a Wine Science degree but what truly defines a winemaker? It’s different in every wine business you look!

By starting my own brand I’ve been able to continue my learning and growth in this industry at a level that sustains my thirst for knowledge. “My Own Invention – {moi} wines” forces me to learn the process of product development, wine production, compliance, marketing, brand management, accounting, business development. Basically from word to go and I just can’t get enough!

With all the knowledge I’ve absorbed in the last decade I needed a creative outlet in which to direct my extra energies and I can take these learnings with me into my daily role as a bottling winemaker for WineWorks. I’m much more passionate because of this side project and confident my duties are performed on behalf of our clients with the highest care and degree of detail. It’s not all about {moi} you know!

Renée Dale 1

Number of years in the wine industry:

First Job:
First job ever? Cast in a Weetbix Ad
First job in wine industry? Trinity Hill cellar door sales – the best kick start to my career in the wine industry, thanks to the awesome people who worked there!

If you were a wine, what wine would you be?
I’ve often thought about this and at different times of my life I have had different answers. I can be a bit fruity, unique, structured, a little quirky or spicy, with many layers, and I tend to look at life quite deeply. I think I am a Syrah – at the moment I’m thinking of the last Syrah that took my breath away – St Joseph 2010 Vignes de l’hospice.

Renée Dale 2

What would you do if you wouldn’t be a winemaker?
As I’m passionate about permaculture I’d love to somehow be involved in sustainable business development/consulting.

Why did you decide to work in the wine industry?
I loved the idea of combining food science and creativity as well having an active job that could help me travel to some of the most beautiful places on the planet. The reality sometimes means it is very physical or grubby and not as romantic as you’d expect. I am constantly learning and growing throughout my career and it has become my constant – my ground zero so to speak and it keeps me sane when life around me can seem tumultuous.

Wine & dine, what’s your favourite match?
{moi} wines 2013 Viognier and homemade smoked fish pate is a winning combination!

Renée Dale 3

Share a fact about your winery that only a few know:
My first vintage of Cabernet Franc for {moi} was accidental – I was meant to be making a Viognier for M-Wines and the seasonal rains ruined a lot of white fruit that year.

Hidden gems and favourite spots in your region:
I wouldn’t say it is a hidden gem so to speak but it is one of my favourite places in the whole world – Wainamu Lake & sand dunes near Bethells Beach, West Auckland.

Things you still want to do:
– Make port for a season in Portugal
– Scuba dive in the Galapagos
– Travel to France, India, Mauritius and Chile
– Make Syrah, Pinot Noir, and Riesling

Last book read:
To cork or not to Cork – Michael Taber.

Advice on buying wine:
Don’t be afraid to try something new or difficult to pronounce!

Dead or alive, who would you like to share a glass of vino with?

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