Alex Camatta
18 August 2020 | Alex Camatta

The Interview Series #1

The intention behind these interviews, which will be a regular feature, is to introduce you to the team members working hard behind the scenes at Shaw + Smith. From our winery and viticultural team, to the tasting room and office, we’ve got some great people for you to meet.

Tasting Room Manager, Alex Camatta, has taken on the mantle of chief interviewer, to share insights of what the team get up to, both in and outside of Shaw + Smith.

In this first instalment of our Interview Series, Alex introduces you to Tara Sullivan, Shaw + Smith’s Wine Club manager and the face behind the emails and updates you receive from us.

Tara, could we have a snapshot of your early years, where you were born, went to school, your early plans and aspirations?

Born in Townsville in FNQ, my family then moved back to Adelaide when I was young. I grew up with parents and 3 brothers in the Adelaide foothills, attending school and University in SA, before venturing overseas at 21, on a year-long backpacking tour of Ireland and Europe. Travelling gave me a greater appreciation for what SA has to offer. Coming back, I was keen to stay in my home state, close to family, and concentrated on fulfilling a long-held aspiration of working in wine. I undertook marketing roles in a variety of industries, including finance, legal and tourism, before making the move to wine, first in the Barossa and then to the Adelaide Hills with Shaw + Smith.  

What was it that drew you to the world of wine?

I believe that SA has a lot to offer as a wine and tourism destination. Wine is fun, and celebratory, creating a sense of occasion, and drinking wine brings people together. Also, the agricultural aspect really appeals to me. It’s great to be involved in something that you really believe in. And being a hills dweller, I have particular regard for this beautiful region. 

Tell us a little about your home life and how you spend your weekends?

Time spent with family is really important to me. I value weekends at home with my husband and daughter on our small property, around 20 acres of relatively hilly terrain. We have a small Chardonnay vineyard on a steep aspect, a real labour of love. My first attempt at making my own wine, pre-Shaw + Smith days, was a dismal failure. We’ve recently handed over the vineyard to a (winemaker) friend to manage and take the fruit.  I’ve had more success with apple cider, made in a ‘Scrumpy’ style. We have a number of apple trees, as well as cherries. Also, a lemon orchard, along with sheep and a few chooks, surrounded by native bush. 

When we first moved to the Hills, I was quite enchanted with the idea of becoming more self-sufficient. I admit to holding dreams of looming alpaca wool in the early days on the property, that never quite eventuated. But we have established a reasonable vegetable garden, a trout stocked dam, and my husband is creating an interesting topiary nursery, which is his thing. 

We are close to the Heysen Trail, so there are some great walking tracks nearby. All in all, it’s a pretty special place to call home. 

Besides sharing with your colleagues, what is it that you do with all the surplus lemons?

Reminiscent of Forest Gump, and Bubba’s litany of shrimp… Limoncello, lemon curd, lemon tarts, lemon cordial, lemonade…

Thank you, Tara. It was great to get a little more insight into the name behind the emails. Before we finish up, do you have a favourite wine memory or perfect wine-drinking scenario you would like to share with us?

Keeping it close to home… a long lunch with friends at the Star of Greece, Port Willunga… Chardonnay in the glass and some delicious seafood, is a great way to spend a Sunday (they are currently pouring our Lenswood Vineyard Chardonnay too!)

With winter still upon us, this scenario paints a welcome picture for what we have to look forward to, come spring.



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