Born and raised in Perth, it was summers spent ‘Down South’ that planted the idea of winemaking as a profession in Kate’s head. Her first hands on winemaking participation came through year 10 work experience spent at Houghton Wines in the Swan Valley, where she met people who she would later work and judge at wine shows with.
Upon completion of a Bachelor Degree in Viticulture & Oenology Kate spent the next few years exploring the world of wine, in both Australia and overseas, gathering diverse experiences from dancing in the old concrete lagars (special port fermenters) while making Port in the Douro Valley, to some chilly days making sparkling wine in the UK, to the gravity fed barrel storage caves in Oregon, as well as learning from the many incredible winemakers, viticulturalists and cellar crew she met along her path.
Her winemaking achievements have been recognised by Gourmet Traveller Wine who have named her as a finalist as Young Winemaker of the Year, and the Young Gun of Wine Awards where she was a Top 12 finalist.
She has been with Jilyara since 2018, and has a natural affinity to Wilyabrup after spending nearly 10 years working with Fraser Gallop Estate. Drawing on her experience, Kate is crafting wines of the highest quality, and by respecting the fruit she is allowing the wine to express the terroir of the vineyard. She works very closely with Craig and Maria throughout the year to ensure the wines are a true team effort.
These days Kate is often accompanied to the vineyard and winery by her young daughter. When not winemaking Kate loves spending time with her family and friends, making the most of Margaret River’s outdoor lifestyle, and great food & wine scene.
After completing her Batchelor of Agricultural Science at Melbourne University, and working throughout Victoria and South Australia in the broad acre farming industry for several years, Laura decided she want to specialise in a more specific field. While travelling throughout Europe for 10 months, she fell in love with the vineyards and wineries throughout France and decided to pursue a career in Viticulture. Laura moved to Perth to begin a Diploma in Viticulture. In 2004, Laura returned to Victoria and undertook her first vintage at Blue Pyrenees Estate, cementing her decision to return to Margaret River and complete an Oenology degree at Curtin University.
2006 saw Laura undertake a vintage at Vasse Felix, and she remained in the cellar until the end of the year. A transfer to the marketing department within Vasse Felix gave Laura a greater understanding of yet another aspect of the wine game, however it was her love of winemaking that saw her return to the winery mid-2007 where she worked alongside Virginia Willcock as assistant winemaker, then white winemaker.
After working at Vasse Felix for 8 years, family life saw Laura step back to a production and marketing role within the wine industry, however as the kids have grown, time has again allowed Laura to step back into the vineyards and winery and back to her love of winemaking.
Working with Jilyara has been a wonderful opportunity to get back into the winemaking side of the industry, and working with such premium Margaret River fruit and the fabulous team at Jilyara is an absolute privilege.