By Fergal Gleeson
I spoke to Billie Brent White, co owner of award winning winery Windance Estate Wines about the joys and challenges of taking over the family winemaking business.
Billie Brent White and her husband “Tyke” Wheatley have taken over from Drew and Rosemary Brent White who started Windance Wines in 1998.
“Mum and dad planted my grandparent’s property when I was 10. So we are second generation winemakers but third generation on the land. I remember when my parents were creating the area for the vineyards.”
“I was weeding for pocket money because I was too young to prune. Dad was the viticulturist and we hired in a winemaker. One of the biggest things Billie has learnt is ‘To run a successful small business you have to do it yourself.”
“My parents worked hard seven days a week because they couldn’t afford to pay anyone. Finally when they could afford to pay someone to run the cellar door that’s was great because they had two days off.”
“Mum and dad were very encouraging to all of us entering the wine industry. If you have passion and enjoy wine it’s great. It’s even better when your partner has the same interest. It’s hard work at vintage and when pruning but we would recommend it. It’s fantastic to share it and you make great friends.”
“It does make it hard to change things when you take over from your parents. You are not changing it because they were wrong but because times are changing. It was hard to drive changes when it was my dad’s business but when we purchased the business in 2014 now we are responsible for it. This takes time to understand.”
“Windance enjoys a good reputation for Shiraz, which does very well on the show circuit and for our Cabernet and Semillon Sauvignon Blanc. We are bringing new wines on, one of them being a dry Rosé which came out in September.”
“Dry Rosé is going crazy. We’re also really excited by alternative varieties rather than structuring everything around Bordeaux. We put huge energy and time into each and every wine in our range to make the high quality wine that we like to drink. We want to make the best wine possible that you want to keep drinking and then the bottle just disappears!”
More at www.windance.com.au
This is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the spring edition of Your Margaret River Region Magazine. Drink and be merry. More at http://www.greatwineblog.com