The Interview Series #10
Georgia, you started with Shaw + Smith in 2021. Can you tell us a little about how you ended up in the wine industry?
I’ve been in hospitality for years, and I really enjoy food and wine. I also really love cooking and growing things so I decided one day to try studying and thought winemaking would be a sort of marriage of making things and being in the world of food and wine without having to do the hospo life!
I’m hoping to further explore the viticulture side of the industry as well, as I love seeing the cycles of the seasons and how vines develop and produce the grapes we love so much.
What does a typical day in the lab look like during vintage?
Busy! Each day can be slightly different but overall we need to keep on top of what’s going on in the winery, in terms of fruit processing (press loads), barreling down of white juices or red wines, transfers and ferments so that we can do analysis where required. We also help culture yeast and malo bugs (to conduct malolactic fermentation) which is pretty cool to see.
At the start of vintage we analyse maturity samples from growers and our own vineyards, this information is passed onto the winemakers and viticulturalists to help make picking decisions.
The lab is a really great place to get an overview of what is going on across the entire winery from crushing through to bottling. We communicate with the winemakers throughout the day which is helpful to understand the decisions they make on a daily basis and then see the results in the wine.
You work incredibly long days, do you think your hospitality experience prepared you for this? What gets you through a shift?
Yes, for sure. Being able to work on your feet for 12 hours during vintage is certainly a fitness I developed working doubles in restaurants! It’s nice to sit down sometimes to do some computer work but generally I like to be up and about. But the adrenaline you get from a busy day in the winery, similar to a busy service in hospo, gives you so much energy which makes the work easier.
Also coffee is the MVP.
Lastly, is there a wine from the 2022 vintage that you’re particularly excited to try?
I do love the Tolpuddle wines, it’s very exciting to see the fruit arrive knowing how far it’s come. We haven’t seen all of it yet but it’s looking awesome so far.
And also the Riesling, I love our Riesling. It's only just starting ferment, but it's such a delicious wine, I’m always excited to see it every year.