Kate Goodman was half way through a biomedical science degree when she realised life as a biomedical scientist was never going to cut the mustard.
‘It just wasn’t creative enough for me.’
Kate finished her degree, but changed tack along the way, taking electives in microbiology and fermentation technology.
‘I had winemaking in the back of my mind, but I needed to confirm it. So I did a vintage at Wirra Wirra in McLaren Vale as a test run.’
Kate was sold from the first day.
‘I absolutely loved vintage. I loved that it was physical and outdoors, and I was excited by the smells, tastes and sounds of vintage. It was sensory overload, but in a good way! Wirra Wirra is also a beautiful place to work. Vintage ticked lots of boxes for me.’
Decision made, Kate did a winemaking degree through Charles Sturt University and started in earnest on her wine journey – a journey recently culminating with her being named Winemaker of the Year in the recent Australian Women in Wine Awards.
Kate’s career to date is impressive. It has taken her from large family-owned wineries such as Wirra Wirra, to the iconic Seppelt in the Grampians, Coonawarra’s Penley Estate and to ground-breaking newcomers such as Punt Road Wines in the Yarra Valley.
‘I have also been fortunate enough to have consulted to an array of exceptional wine producers across Australia and have had pivotal career experiences participating in vintages in France, Spain and the United States’, she said.
Kate was named the Australian Women in Wine Awards Winemaker of the Year 2018
In 2013, Kate began her own eponymous wine label in the Yarra Valley, Goodman Wines, and sister label Nikkal Wine.
She says she loves the challenge of running her own gig. ‘It’s hard work, because you’re everything from the book keeper to the cleaner, cellar hand, winemaker and marketing person, but it’s really fulfilling’. She also sits on the committee of the Yarra Valley Wine Growers’ Association and is a founding member of the Yarra Valley Wine Women.
In awarding Kate Winemaker of the Year, the judges noted her creativity.
‘….since January 2016 Kate has been working with Penley Estate in Coonawarra with the brief to make its wines more relevant and contemporary. Her first act was to listen to the vineyard and what she did next was very much outside the box – at least as far as traditional Coonawarra wine styles were concerned. She made an early release, delicious, bright, crunchy Cabernet Franc with zero oak influence and just masses of drinkability. It hit the spot with consumers and writers and its Aussie success has now opened up export markets for the wine’, they said.
Kate said while Yarra Valley Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon are the hallmark varieties of her own label, she takes great joy in evoking the sights, smells and tastes of Italy in her Vermentino and Negroamaro wines, using grapes grown in Heathcote, Victoria to add a little local flavour to the Italian classics.
‘I have access to delicious fruit from a number of well-established, high-performing vineyards around the Yarra Valley, which gives me the flexibility to perfect my wines and produce varieties I am proud of.’
‘I love what I do. I’m very lucky.’