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Adelaide Hills:
Sarah’s Playground

Cake Wines Head Winemaker: Sarah Burvill

POSTED 19.07.2015

Just flip a coin. Heads: marine biologist. Tails: winemaker. The coin lands. Heads it is.

But six months later, Sarah Burvill can’t stop thinking about grapes. It’s in her family; it’s in her blood. And so she defies the coin, follows her gut and becomes one of the most passionate and respected winemakers in Australia.

To anyone who knows anything about wine, harvest means very late nights and even earlier mornings. Sound tough? Harvest is like Christmas for Sarah, and after chatting with her a few minutes, it’s easy see how she was made to be our head winemaker 

With 12 years of experience and a number of accolades under her belt, Sarah knows winemaking like the back of her hand. Her proudest moment to date was when her own rosé, one she had been championing for nearly six years, was named the country’s best in 2012. The moment was more than recognition of her efforts; it was motivation to keep backing her choices, however they’re challenged Sarah’s role as the head winemaker at Cake means oversees the grapes from vineyard to bottle for each vintage. But the process starts before this, when Sarah, Mike and Glen get together and trade ideas about what each wine should be. With trusted feedback from various sources informing the process, each vintage improves on the last.

 

Cake Wines 2014 Pinot Gris available here

Though always passionate, Sarah’s interest in winemaking has been reinvigorated by the zest and energy of Cake Wines. Together with Mike and Glen, she’s on a mission to usher in a new generation of wine culture. “Back in the ‘90s there was so much romance, but the wine industry has become a bit stagnant. When I met the Cake boys, it was like a breath of fresh air. Their enthusiasm and approach was infectious. They see wine as part of this much bigger picture and for me they injected some of that romance back into the process. The three of us try to push things as far as we can, doing new things and getting inspired by big ideas.”

“Back in the ‘90s there was so much romance, but the wine industry has become a bit stagnant. When I met the Cake boys, it was like a breath of fresh air.”

Of all the wines, Sarah is most impressed with the Pinot Gris. Selecting parcels from a couple of key sites in the Hills Sarah comments, “It’s an exceptional example of what a Pinot Gris should be. With aromatic red nashi pear and spicy lemongrass tones, it’s a really pretty wine.” Because she wants to be close to the fruit, you can find Sarah in the vineyards of Adelaide Hills, ready to chat endlessly about her great passion and why you should always go with tails even if it lands on heads.

Cake Wines Head Winemaker: Sarah Burvill

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