The late Margaret Pooley,
Australia’s oldest female Vigneron
at the time of her passing
in November 2010
Pooley Wines was established in 1985 when the late Denis and Margaret Pooley planted ten rows of Riesling and seven rows of Pinot Noir on their 16-hectare farm at Cooinda Vale in the Coal River Valley in southern Tasmania.
Today, after more than 20 years of producing premium quality cool-climate wines, and having been awarded numerous trophies and medals at prestigious wine shows, the Pooley family has established a second vineyard in the Coal River Valley at Richmond. Margaret Pooley remained the chief executive of Cooinda Vale Vineyard until well into her nineties. She was a hardy Scot and could be found tending vines during the coldest Tasmanian winters.
In 2003, John Pooley, son of Denis and Margaret, and his wife Libby bought Belmont Lodge, a heritage-listed Georgian home on the outskirts of Richmond. They have been lovingly renovating this second Pooley Wines Coal River Valley property, and have planted vines on nearby Butchers Hill. In 2007 the first vintage of Pinot was produced. The cellar door is housed in old sandstone stables on the Belmont Lodge property.
Belmont Lodge – a fine two storey Georgian stone house – was built in 1832 by a Hobart wine dealer, Benjamin Guy.
A book of the finest private colonial estates in Tasmania, by Alice Bennett and Georgia Warner, was published in 2009. Belmont Lodge is one of the 26 properties featured.
The family’s love of wine was ignited many years ago, in 1954, when Denis Pooley became a founding member of the Hobart Beefsteak and Burgundy Club, two years after he and Margaret arrived in Tasmania from England. “There were only six members. It was very exclusive,” recalled Margaret.
Manager and Winemaker
The Pooley Wines family business has been under the management of Matthew Pooley for the past 12 years. Matthew is also the Winemaker for the Pooley Family Reserve range.
In the task of developing and expanding the Pooley vineyards at Cooinda Vale and at Belmont Lodge, Matthew has brought a strong commitment to his craft, and to the wine industry in general.
In response to various climate change and peak oil issues facing businesses today, Matthew is reducing Pooley Wines’ reliance on chemicals, using various techniques such as growing crops in the vineyard to provide nutrients to the vines and using natural predators to control pests.
Until the passing of Margaret Pooley in November 2010, three generations of the Pooley family were working in the vineyards. Margaret’s Grandson, Matthew Pooley, is the General Manager and chief wine-maker of Pooley Wines.
The grandmother/grandson wine-growing team was believed to be unique in Australia. “She was the main drive behind it,” says Matthew Pooley of his astonishing grandmother. “She put us all to shame.”
The Coal River Valley produces some of Australia’s finest wines and the Pooleys are one of its longest-established winegrowers.
Pooley Wines consistently wins awards. Pooley Wines took home eighteen medals and two trophies at the 2011 Tasmanian Wine Show.