The Australian Women in Wine Awards is focusing on making sure the conversation about diversity isn’t just with women. “In fact, current stats show that women may not even be sitting around the ‘influence’ table in our wine businesses, so we need to make sure we extend the conversation to both genders, and work hard on improving unconscious bias,” says Corrina Wright of Oliver’s Taranga Vineyards. “To demonstrate how important this is, we have asked some talented #winechicks to tell us about who has stood behind them, and helped them get to where they are in their career.” Today Bec Barr of Fernfield shares her story. Bec was named Cellar Door Woman of the Year in the awards.
Words: Bec Barr
I was asked to write about how my team have been important to me at Fernfield Wines. I work with a team of three boys, but two of them are border collies and, to be honest, don’t really pull their weight (except for being pretty darn cute) so I decided to focus on the only other human at Fernfield, my husband Scott.
Scott and I met 11 years ago when we were both graduate engineers at the Whyalla Steelworks, and from the start I admired his happy, laid-back attitude to life that probably came from growing up in a farming family.
If I hadn’t already been convinced, I knew for sure he was a keeper after we were in a serious car accident 18 months into our relationship. We were both hurt pretty bad, but I was worse, so I got all the sympathy while he got left doing all the work.
He was the best support a girl could ever want. He would wake up early every morning to run errands, then cook me meals at home so I didn’t have to eat hospital food, hobble to the hospital with a broken foot and broken arm to keep me company until late each night, before hobbling home after I’d gone to sleep. He never uttered a single complaint and always had a smile on his face.
A few years later he said to me, “Let’s quit our jobs and buy a winery.” And even though I didn’t used to be a big fan of change, I trusted him and his crazy idea enough to agree, and we never looked back.
These days I love his crazy ideas, they’re what makes our business work. Scott is the one who thought of making chocolates to perfectly pair with our wines. While matching chocolate and wine in itself isn’t new, Scott’s idea was that rather than just trying to match someone else’s chocolates with our wines, we should design and make our own chocolates that are specifically designed to pair with our wines. Our customers now love our chocolate and wine pairings so much we keep selling out of chocolates faster than we can make them.
Scott is an unashamed proponent of gender equality. It has never bothered him to be married to a strong-willed engineer turned winemaker, and he would never expect me to fit any mould of how girls are ‘supposed’ to act.
We’re expecting our first child in a couple of weeks, and if it’s a girl I know he will teach her that she can do anything she wants in life. He’ll certainly expect her to help out in the workshop and the vineyard when she’s older as much as he will if it is a boy.