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Hardy Wine Company triumphant return for winemaker

Fiona Donald has been announced as Group Red Winemaker at the Hardy Wine Company.

Fiona originally commenced her career with the company in 1991 at Tintara in McLaren Vale and spent the next six years making wine for Tintara, Renmano Wines and Barossa Valley Estate, as well as undertaking a vintage at Domaine de la Baume in France in 1995.

Not only has Fiona’s role developed significantly over this time, but so has the Hardy Wine Company.

‘When I started as Operations Winemaker at Thomas Hardy & Sons in 1991, the computer system was still being integrated into winery operations’, she said, ‘and the winery at Padthaway was little more than a crusher set up for vintage’.

‘Now the company encompasses a range of amazing sites in regions around Australia.’

Fiona’s winemaking experience spans more than 15 years and includes nine years with Penfolds Wines at Nuriootpa.

Fiona said she was particularly impressed by the company’s emphasis on quality and regionality across all levels of the winemaking process.

‘I’ve just returned from visiting each of the sites around Australia and have seen first hand the commitment of our winemakers to their regions.’

‘When vintages differ people out in the regions are in the best position to read early signals and make the decisions required to ensure the best results are attained’, she said.

‘Being in regions allows more informed and intuitive winemaking decisions.’

Owning a vineyard in the Barossa Valley, Fiona has directly experienced the vagaries of vintage in a viticultural as well as winemaking sense.

‘The winemaking role covers so many aspects of the company and so many people — from viticulture, production, marketing and compliance through to trade, consumers and media.’

‘I’ve been impressed by the approach within the company across all of these aspects and the implicit confidence in the regions, vineyard sites and winemakers involved’, Fiona said.

‘There is a serious commitment to the fruit characteristics and styles of individual regions.’

Fiona has applied her winemaking expertise to a number of wine shows around Australia, both in Associate and Judging roles. She has also contributed to a range of wine industry bodies and projects, particularly within the Barossa Valley community.

Peter Dawson, Senior Vice President of Group Operations & Technical and former Group Chief Winemaker, welcomed Fiona’s appointment to the group winemaking team.

‘It’s great to have Fiona back at the Hardy Wine Company and looking after our red wines’, he said.

‘With a large red wine portfolio including Thomas Hardy, Eileen Hardy, Houghton Jack Mann and Leasingham Classic Clare Shiraz, we are delighted to have the skill and experience of Fiona on the team.’

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