New World Icons! PT.2 – The Women


Vanya Cullen has been wine making at her family’s Wilyabrup estate since 1983. Cullen Wines while remaining family owned has since evolved making quality wine from a certified Biodynamic, Carbon Neutral and naturally powered estate. Vanya was inducted into the Australian Business Women’s 2015 Hall of Fame which honours and celebrates Australian female business owners who have been exemplary in their industries, are trailblazers and demonstrate inspiring and aspiring business journeys.

The Cullen Estate was planted in 1971, and since its early days chemical intervention has been minimal, and the families main concern with the environment and its health. In 1998 the move to full organics was made, with certification following in 2003, followed by biodynamic certification in 2004.


Helen Masters was 2019 winemaker of the year in New Zealand. “The best thing about being a winemaker is that it doesn’t feel like work. I love the change and the challenge wine making offers. Every year is different. I also like being involved at every stage from vineyard to customer.” Masters was the driving force behind achieving New Zealand’s first ever Grand Cru status, and has helped position Ata Rangi at the apex of New Zealand production. 

Ata Rangi were one of the pioneers for the Martinborough region, with land being planted in the early 1980’s, not long after their close neighbours Dry River. A perfect climate, with warm growing season days flowing into cool nights imbue the wines with beautiful acid structure and clearly defined flavours. The style is extremely savoury for the New World, perhaps more similar to the best of Burgundy rather than their nearest neighbours.


“I’ve never wanted to be a great female winemaker, only a great winemaker. Male or Female, it’s the same world.” As a teenager, Virginia saw the happiness and joy wine brought to her parents and their friends after a hard day’s work in their small vineyard. It was here she decided wine making was going to be her career. Virginia is one of the most awarded winemakers in Australia.

Vasse Felix, founded in 1967, are the pioneer producer in Margaret River, which has an outstanding climate for quality production. Vasse Felix has 4 distinct vineyards, all farmed without the use of synthetic herbicides, fungicides, pesticides or fertilisers.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Closed, for now

Specialist Cellars has paused its virtual doors for now. We’re still open and operating at our Pop Brixton store this Summer. You can also visit us 7 days a week at The Laundry Restaurant for sublime food, wine and coffee @brixtonlaundry.

Any outstanding vouchers can be redeemed at The Laundry or Pop Brixton store. Sadly we can no longer redeem these online.

Any queries contact

Everyone loves cookies, right? By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy. Read more