City trader, doctor, hobbyist, lifelong dreamer: the winemaking bug can strike anyone, whether or not they have an existing connection to the industry. Anne Krebiehl MW meets career-changers and risk-takers around the world

Not everyone is born into a life of wine. yet for many, making wine is living the dream. Some fulfil their dream once they have made enough money in another business: they buy land or a winery and hire a winemaker. But we sought out those who have done it the hard way, who were not exceptionally rich, who were nowhere near retirement, who turned their lives around completely.

They risked it all in order to make wine; they made sacrifices and struggled through. They are living proof that change is possible. Each is as different as they come – the only thing they all have in common is energy, imagination and an appetite for risk and hard work. Meet our winemaking renegades.


Maree Collis and Ray Nadeson, Lethbridge Wines

Former scientists Maree Collis and Ray Nadeson in the barrel room at Lethbridge Wines

Ray Nadeson

Lethbridge Wines, Victoria, Australia

Ray Nadeson, 52, has a PhD in neuroscience. ‘I spent 10 years applying research on how we can reduce pain in humans,’ he explains. ‘And I was pretty good at what I did – but I didn’t want to be defined by that.

‘All my life I’ve been outdoorsy and somehow I ended up entrenched in a hospital. But I also like being outside, doing things with my hands and I really like working with different people. Being a farmer I need to work with everyone.’ It’s the same story for his wife Maree Collis, who has a PhD in chemistry. ‘Somehow or other Maree and I decided to have a go. We decided to approach it as a research project,’ Nadeson remembers.

 

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Anne Krebiehl MW is a freelance wine writer, educator, consultant and judge