Earlier this year, the search was on for a talented Winemaker to become Plantagenet’s seventh custodian. An international recruitment program resulted in many applications from around the world. As a result, we are very proud to announce the appointment of Catherine (Cath) Oates. Plantagenet Wines first female winemaker.
Since Plantagenet released our first wines in 1974, there has only been six Winemakers at the helm. The list is quite modest in size, however each of them have significantly contributed to the enviable reputation that the Great Southern and West Australian wines are known for. Plantagenet Wines have won over 1000 medals and 100 Trophies since our humble beginnings and we pay tribute to our great winemaker heritage.
The Six previous Winemakers and their terms are listed below:
David McNamara 1974-78
Rob Bowen 1979- 1987
John Wade 1988 – 1994
Gavin Berry 1995- 2004
Richard Robson 2005- 2006
John Durham 2007- 2012
Cath returns to her home state of Western Australia from New Zealand where she was Group Winemaker at Mud House Wine Group, owner of prestige brands Waipara Hills and Mud House. She has also worked as a flying winemaker in California at boutique winery, La Crema (owned by Kendall Jackson) and in Italy.
Cath brings a wealth of experience, both in Western Australia and overseas to Plantagenet. After completing a Bachelor of Science in Viticulture at Curtin University in 1997, she was awarded a scholarship to complete a Post Graduate Diploma of Oenology at the University of Adelaide. After graduation, she worked in Margaret River as winemaker for numerous labels and during this time, her client’s brands won over 50 show medals and five trophies.
In addition to working in winemaking roles in Australia and overseas, Cath is a regular judge on the NZ show circuit, and has also judged at several international wine shows including the Concours Mondial Sauvignon Blanc in Bordeaux. She is currently studying for her Master of Wine.
“We are delighted to welcome Cath to the Plantagenet team to lead winemaking into a new era for the winery.” said Jan Skrapac, General Manager of Plantagenet Wines. “Cath will be the first female winemaker in our 38-year history, building on our founder Tony Smith’s vision of continuous evolution and excellence at Plantagenet. Cath’s local knowledge coupled with her international experience, particularly in the cool climate regions of New Zealand, is a great fit for our Great Southern wines.”
"I’m excited to return home and work with a winery with such a rich history of winemaking as Plantagenet.” states Cath. “The Great Southern has a variety of microclimates and some fantastic old vineyards, with cool climate varieties that I’ve become attached to plus my old favourites that I’ve missed making."
"It’s an exciting time in the brand’s evolution and I’m honoured to be part of the team writing the next chapter."
Plantagenet Wines are proving to be strong contenders this year, boasting three medal winning wines! Our 2010 Plantagenet Chardonnay and 2009 Plantagenet Shiraz both won GOLD and the 2011 Plantagenet Riesling won Silver at the 2012 International Wine Challenge. As an added bonus the Shiraz went on to win a coveted Trophy for the Best West Australian Red.
The 2011 Plantagenet Riesling has also had a lot of media attention recently, with Matthew Jukes including it in his top 100 Australian wines for 2012. Matthew wrote:
“There is something almost masochistic about the rapier-sharp lime zest flavours in this searingly dry WA Riesling. Some may find it a little too austere for their tastes whereas others will rejoice in its incredibly tangy, mouth-watering finish. Watch out for a fleeting glimpse of lemon meringue pie on the midpalate and help yourself to the juiciest tiger prawns with chilli and lemongrass you can find.”