2 minutes with Sally Belford
Company: Bobar Wines
Lives: Yarra Valley
How did you get into making wine?
I’ve always loved growing plants. I have fond childhood memories of helping my Dad in our little suburban veggie garden during the weekend, planting and harvesting. During my twenties I studied horticulture in Brisbane, then by the mid 90’s I found myself living near Canberra. This is where wine found me. I soon began a viticulture degree at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga.
Is it a rite of passage for Aussie winemakers to do vintage in Europe?
Maybe not a rite of passage but most winemakers do make the journey to other lands to expand their wine knowledge.
Why did you (and husband Tom) decide to make wines naturally and sustainably?
Both my maternal and paternal grandparents were farmers and they often spoke of how the land must be respected. Their words resonated with me and I’ve always been conscious of living sustainably. In regard to wine, grapes are used because they naturally have everything needed to make wine, sugar, acid, tannin etc. When studying the methods of commercial wine production, where grape components are torn apart, pushed, pulled and blasted, then put back together to create a product that is the same year after year, I felt sad. To make wine that truly represents the grape, the farm and the environment in which it grew makes me much happier.
Are there challenges in having two winemakers making the decisions?
I’ve never felt challenged making wine with Tom. Bobar is something we’ve always dreamed of doing together. We complement each other. If we weren’t having fun, we wouldn’t be doing it.
Tell us about the Syrah that you will be serving at our Ladies of the Vine event at The Town Mouse next month?
The 2015 Syrah was the 6th vintage of Syrah made. It was the second consecutive year that we felt we had nailed the carbonic maceration method. The 2015 growing season was warmer than the long-term average and overall quite dry. The wine smells like barely ripe raspberries and earth. In the mouth it has spritz, is sappy and cool with a gentle brush of tannins.
What's happening in the future for Bobar?
It’s a surprise. I like surprises.