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20Q: The Stellar Sierra Reed

Sierra Reed is a star on the rise. After an epiphany of sorts while on a work trip to New Zealand, Californian native Reed set about throwing herself head first into the world of winemaking.

It’s an impressive CV too, including stints at Hearst Ranch Winery (Paso Robles), Domaine Chandon (Yarra Valley), Pina and Hunnicutt Wineries (Napa Valley), Head Wines (Barossa Valley), Rippon (Central Otago), Domaine du Vissoux (Beaujolais), Mount Langi Ghiran (Grampians), Lethbridge (Geelong) and the revered E. Pira & Figli (Barolo) under the guidance of the great Chiara Boschis.

And the lessons learned are obvious. Reed’s 2015 ‘Alexia’ Grenache is an essay in style and grace, and easily one of the best Australian wines we’ve tasted this year.

Now based in Melbourne with her young family, we recently caught up with Sierra to find out what makes her tick…


1. What do you do for a living?

I’m lucky enough to do what I love; hopefully I’ll make a living from it soon.

2. Describe Reed Wines in a sentence.

Reed Wines is about purity in the glass.

3. Tell us about Reed ‘Alexia’ Grenache 2015. What should we be eating with it?

‘Alexia’ Grenache was birthed from a moment I had in 2010 with a glass of Grenache in California of all places. There is a small winery the size of my bathroom called Kynsi, and they had a Grenache that really changed the way I perceived the variety, it read like Pinot Noir. It was delicate, perfumed and had the body of Kate Moss circa 1980. I wasn’t even close to making my own wines back then, but I saw the same potential in the Barossa Valley when visiting and tasting during the 2013 vintage with Alex Head. When the opportunity came in 2015 to get two tonnes of fruit selected with Alex’s expert knowledge of the region, I jumped at it. Making this Grenache was an absolute dream; I had multiple goosebumps moments along the way as I watched the wine evolve. This wine is in many ways a validation of my decision to give away six figures, follow a passion and work for experience for six years. This wine makes it all worthwhile, and I hope my future wines live up to its high standards.

Drink me like the French from Beaujolais do, with charcuterie and cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

4. How did you come to be in wine?

Long story short, I was hosting a television show in New Zealand for a few years, and one program we filmed was called ‘Harvest’. The focus of the show was on wine and food, interviewing the Family Of Twelve, which includes the likes of Pegasus Bay, Felton Road and Ata Rangi. After the second year presenting the show, I had a light-bulb moment during an interview, and it was so clear to me that these families were doing something that was both special and unique to them. I remember thinking that if I could just have a sliver of their world in my future, my happiness would be endless. So after many vintages around the world, and incredible mentors imprinting their passionate philosophies on me, here I am.

5. What skill so you possess that nobody knows you have?

None, I am a complete open book, and I have the gift of the gab. There isn’t anything about me that people don’t already know or couldn’t Google search and find out. I’m OK not being mysterious.

6. What do you miss most about being a kid?

Experiencing the sensory moments I now often draw from to describe wine.

7. Do you have a nickname?

Not really, but I was often introduced to people as the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve and her foot in her mouth. Otherwise Si, because Australians always like to make everything extra short.

8. The biggest myth surrounding wine is…

The heavier the glass bottle, the better the wine.

9. What’s your knock off drink off choice?


10. What’s you favourite sound?

I’m a Cali girl; it has to be the ocean.

11. The most underrated grape variety on the planet is…

My favourite grape variety: Gamay.

12. Where do you find inspiration?

I have been travelling the world since I was a teenager, and there is nothing more inspirational than being a ghost in a new place.

13. If you weren’t making wine, what would you be doing?

I would be dead.

14. What would your superpower be?


15. What song do you never want to hear in the winery again?

I feel bad because he passed away recently, but it’s got to be ‘Purple Rain’ by Prince. When I worked at Domaine du Vissoux in Beaujolais, Pierre had a 3-disc cd player, and that song always skipped and no-one ever had a free hand to change it. Just imagine it.

16. What’s so special about your neck of the woods?

We are currently taking the first steps to calling the Grampians home; by next vintage we should have a small winery up and running. The Grampians is such a beautiful place, but for me it’s the motherland of gorgeous Shiraz, and that’s why it has my number.

17. Whose wines should we be checking out?

Stony Hill from the Napa Valley, the vineyards were planted in 1952. Think old-school Napa, not Napa today. Very exciting place to visit and see the contrast.

18. The best way to spend a Sunday is…

Prepare a long lunch with friends, my husband and new baby girl.

19. Got any guilty pleasures?

Montecristo cigars.

20. Elvis or Elton?

Considering that I was once given a place to crash by Jack Osborne, who is Elton’s Godson, it’s Elton all the way. Think Death Valley, tequila and me on the bar singing ‘Bennie and the Jets’…