Tamra grew up in Marlborough during the region’s viticulture explosion. Spending school holidays working in vineyards and winery restaurants sparked an early fascination with wine and its creation. She completed a degree in Viticulture (the study of grapes in the vineyard) and Oenology (the study of making wine once grapes are harvested) at Lincoln University, where she was named ‘top student’. Her first position was in the laboratory at Marlborough’s Seresin Estate. She then headed to California to join Francisan Estate in the Napa Valley. This was followed by stints in Australia’s Hunter Valley and Margaret River. Here, Tamra enjoyed hands-on experience at everything; pruning the vines, cellar door sales and assistant winemaking.
Next came an offer to take the role of Winemaker for Casa Vinicola Calatrasi’s 2002 vintage in Sicily, Italy. Tamra stayed for four years as Head Winemaker for the Calatrasi Group, overseeing wineries in Sicily, Puglia and Tunisia. A stunning achievement for a young winemaker! This was followed by a re-acquaintance with New World wine varieties, particularly aromatic varietals like Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Riesling and Pinot Gris, completing vintages at Evans & Tate in Australia and Kim Crawford, New Zealand. After a period as a ‘flying winemaker’ overseeing production from Italy’s northern Veneto region for the Sainsbury supermarket group, Tamra was lured home by Peter Yealands. In her words “This is the ultimate opportunity – working with super premium cool climate fruit and being involved from scratch in the set-up of a new winery and brand with absolute commitment to sustainability!”