We chatted with Paggy, from Poppy the Frenchie, chief winemaker on their vineyard in South Australia
Tell us a bit about yourself….
I’m one half of a mother-daughter duo. Technically ‘sister’ to Poppy the star on the label, as she is my mum’s beloved French Bulldog. Making wine is my absolute passion and joy in life
How did you get interested in winemaking?
As a child, I was always drawing, painting or playing the flute. As I got older, I fell in love with chemistry and biology. To this day, I love both and I didn’t immediately figure out where I wanted to be and tried (and failed) a few things. The answer was staring me in the face as winemaking is the perfect fit for me as it marries creativity and science. My mum had already been working in the industry for years before I started my degree.
What do you love most about what you do?
It is so hard to pinpoint. Working outside in the vineyard, collaborating with Mum, learning/meeting/supporting other winemakers and the friendships I’ve made, engaging with the public – my cheeks often hurt from laughter at the end of a day of tastings
What do you love about being a winemaker?
Marrying science and creativity
Tell us about Poppy the Frenchie
Poppy the Frenchie is fun. Despite being serious wine (hand-picked, hand-pruned, old vine and well made), it is not pretentious! Poppy Wines are light, bright and concentrate on elegant fruit.
Where did the name ‘Poppy the Frenchie’ come from?
I had to make and present a wine for my Wine Production 1 class. I would need some of the grapes off Mums vineyard but to get her blessing there were a few conditions – a French-inspired Dry Rose, and it had to have her dog on the label. Poppy the Frenchie literally is referring to my Mums French Bull Dog – Poppy.
Talk us through your vineyard location, what’s special about it and why did you select this site?
We had our eye on the vineyard before it went up for sale, it’s known for having stunning fruit. They’re an old vine, 80 or so years old, gnarly and knotty. Even in tricky years it still produced beautiful fruit.
What kind of wine does your vineyard make?
We have a few varieties on the 26 acres – Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot, Grenache, Riesling and Chardonnay.
Most people might be surprised to discover wine isn’t vegan-friendly, why is that?
A lot of people think grapes make wine; therefore, it must be vegan. But in the fining and clarification of animal products such as egg white, milk, fish or gelatine can be used. We use a product called Vegecoll which is the proteins derived from potato.
Are you vegan?
I’m not vegan, but I’m passionate about sustainable agriculture such as grass-fed produce and free-range eggs
Have you thought about producing a sparkling rose or another type of wine?
Watch this space! Something will pop its head up at Brisbane Good Food and Wine Show. Poppy will be sharing the spotlight with her sister Penny, and my dog Lou.
What are your favourite foods to have with your wine?
It depends on the mood and the wine! I don’t think wine and food pairing rules should be too strict, it is a personal preference and ever-changing.
What’s your indulgence of choice?
Sour lollies (and it’s not food, but getting a massage).
What are three foods you can’t live without?
I always say that if I had to eat one food for the rest of my life it would be potatoes. Hash browns, chips, crisps, mashed, boiled, gnocchi… I can’t think of anything that can give as much variety plus I’m biased as it’s what we use to fine the wine. Then lollies, and anything under the Italian cuisine umbrella.
What are your top 3 most popular dishes?
Gnocchi with sage and burnt butter, anchovy pizza and home-made bread with garlic butter
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Getting into the Hot 100 Wines of South Australia with our very first wine
What’s next for you?
I want to continue learning and growing as a winemaker, expanding our range and to continue loving what we do
Look out for Poppy the Frenchie Rose available for the first time in Queensland at the 2019 Good Food & Wine Show in Brisbane from 25th – 27th October 2019, book your ticket here: https://goodfoodshow.com.au/brisbane/
About Poppy The Frenchie
The wines are all handpicked, with the vines also being hand pruned. Each barrel for the Grenache is chosen carefully with thought and consideration to taste. While with the Rosé, Paggy stood watching the grapes during skin contact, for the perfect blush colouring she desired. The Poppy the Frenchie Wines are also 100% vegan ! It was Paggy’s first time making a Rosé in 2017 and the wine made the Hot 100 Wines of SA!