The Family

About Pooley Wines

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, 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 property.

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.

 

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 also the Viticulturalist 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

 

Denis and Margaret Pooley on their
engagement day in 1933

Matthew Pooley

Viticulturalist

Matt’s Grandfather (the late Denis Pooley) had a retirement passion – to establish a small 1 acre vineyard on a 40 acre block of land next to their farm, in Tasmania’s Coal River Valley. As a teenager in those early days of planting the vines, Matt helped prepare the soil and plant the original cuttings for his grandfather, and this was the start that took Matt into agriculture and later, viticulture.

After leaving school, Matt studied a Diploma in Farm Business Management at Marcus Oldham Farm Business Management College in Geelong. He returned to Tasmania in 1994 to continue running the family’s 1500 acre property, expanding his grandparent’s vineyard as well as starting a family of his own. With a hunger to learn more, he began working for the Andrew Hood contract winemaking business (Tasmania’s first contract winemaking facility). This gave Matt the opportunity to develop and hone his wine making skills and experience as well as providing him with great insight and grounding into the varying regions and growing conditions of the Tasmanian wine industry.

Matt then ventured out and diversified into setting up and operating under the Pooley Wines brand as a contract wine storage, packaging and distribution business for other Tasmanian wine growers. This business ran strongly for 10 years whilst Matt continued to focus on sustainably growing new plantings, the Pooley Wines name and reputation focusing on quality.

In 2013 Matt was awarded a Nuffield scholarship sponsored by the old Grape Wine Research & Development Corporation (GWRDC) the new Australian Grape & Wine Association (AGWA) to travel & study sustainable management and practices in small scale cool climate wineries. With the studies taking Matt around the world, he has both learnt and shared leading environmental and sustainable agricultural and viticulture methods from a hugely diverse range of wine producing regions. From his small and early foray into vines and wines in 1983, Matt has been fortunate to see the family vineyards grow over the last 30 years and indeed see the fruits of his labour help build the family business into what it is today. It has been his passion and joy to learn, develop and share his sustainable wine production knowledge and best practices.

Anna Pooley

Winemaker

From the very first Pooley family harvest in 1988 – Anna knew she wanted to be a winemaker. She moved to South Australia to study winemaking at the University of Adelaide. Her first vintage was at Tatachilla Winery in McLaren Vale in 2002. After graduating, Anna began working as a winemaker at Wolf Blass winery in the Barossa Valley in 2003.

Northern hemisphere vintages include winemaking roles at Salomon Undhof in Austria, Riecine in Tuscany, Italy, and several vintages at Castello di Gabbiano in northern Tuscany, Italy. After several years focussing on white and sparkling wines across a range of wineries including Rosemount, Penfolds, Yellowglen and Wolf Blass the opportunity for Anna to work in her native Tasmania arose.

Anna’s experience with cool climate winemaking and her history in Tasmania led her to making the wines under the Heemskerk and Abel’s Tempest labels. Anna’s efforts received accolades and awards including multiple medals and trophies, not to mention a serious nod to Anna’s winemaking credentials; Dux of AWRI Advanced Wine Assessment Course in 2008, Finalist in the Young Winemaker of The Year 2008 and winner in 2010, WBM Top 50 Most Influential Wine People of 2009, WBM Top 50 Stars of 2010.

Anna is also an accomplished wine show judge with positions at various national and regional shows such as Marananga, Royal Adelaide, Tasmanian Wine Show and the International Riesling Challenge. Anna has also been on the wine selectors panel for Jetstar selecting wines for business class. In 2012 she completed the exclusive Len Evans Tutorial- the holy grail of wine industry studies.

Anna’s winemaking philosophy is of a minimal intervention to allow the regional characteristics to shine. “I try to bottle the vineyard”. In doing so Anna captures the intensity, freshness and elegance that Tasmanian wines are famous for.

“No wine region in Australia has more potential than Tasmania. Though in ‘wine years’ it is just emerging from the exuberance of adolescence. Tasmania’s unique set of attributes puts it in a strong position heading into the future and the confluence of wine, food, art and natural beauty in a compact package presents an alluring proposal to wine consumers and visitors to the state.”

David Brookes, wine writer
Gourmet Traveller, Wine Companion