Kate Goodman, Winemaker for Punt Road Wines, Yarra Valley, Victoria
Where were you born? I was born on the east coast of Australia, 2 hours south of Sydney, just a hop, skip, and a jump from the ocean.
Where do you live now? I am now living in the Yarra Valley, Victoria.
How did you get into the wine business? I studied Microbiology when first out of high school, but it really wasn’t for me. A non-creative indoors, white coat environment didn’t really satisfy. I completed that degree, then went and got a cellar hand job in a winery in Mclaren Vale, SA. I Enrolled in a winemaking degree which I completed by distance education whilst working. I haven’t looked back and love what I do.
What is most and least rewarding about being a winemaker? Without doubt, the most rewarding thing is creating new wines every season, wines that reflect the year and something for others to enjoy. The least rewarding? Nothing springs to mind.
What are the challenges of making wine in your region? The weather, as it is everywhere!
Have Australians’ wine preferences changed in the last 10 years? As a general rule, there is a move away from big, tannic, extracted red wines. Whites are also ‘slimming down.’ I wonder if Australian wine drinkers are become more adventurous as well.
Have you been to the U.S.? I have been to the USA numerous times, the first time was as a high school exchange student in upstate NY. I have also made wine in California for a previous employer. I have holiday’d and done a number of sales trips. I love New York, so feel free to invite me any time!
Do you think Australia gets an unfair reputation in the U.S. for producing unbalanced, fruit bombs? I think Australian wine has been given a broad brush of sameness. Whilst some regions do produce big, fruity wines (and I believe these are a valid style, just not my style ), there are many cooler climate regions that have been continuing to do their own thing, producing wines of elegance and freshness. They are just being rediscovered and appreciated for their varietal integrity, complexity and ability to sit evenly with food rather than compete with it.
Which wine or grape is the least understood or respected? Chardonnay is back on the radar after many years on the periphery; Cool-climate Shiraz is cool again, and so perhaps is Cabernet Sauvignon. A solid noble variety, often brooding quietly, when made well, can be most rewarding.
What excites you most about Australian wine right now? The degree of experimentation seems to be huge, winemakers are really pushing boundaries and pushing to get the most from their grapes. Cooler regions are being pursued. Savoury wines are back in fashion.
What do you drink when relaxing at home? Depends on the ‘occasion’ although I am very partial to Chardonnay, I would drink more Burgundy if I could afford it.
What types of food do you like to eat? Cooking is relaxing for me. I will try my hand at cooking anything. I do enjoy blending my own spice mixes to make a good curry and anything slow-cooked during the winter.
What music do you listen to? My tastes are so varied: from Nick Cave , First Aid Kit, Sharon Jones, and Martha Wainwright. I listen to many genres.
Which non-Australian wines do you like? Who doesn’t love Champagne or Burgundy! I also enjoy drinking Spanish and Italian wines–the tannin structure, mouthfeel and flavor profiles are delicious.
If you could be traveling somewhere else right now, where would you be? Spain. I have worked in and visited Spain a couple of times. I enjoy the Spanish way of eating, the architecture of the south and the shoes!