Anna Pooley has a had a career that has attracted somewhat of the spotlight, with her skills and determination taking her to some very senior roles at a young age. With a return to the family business, Pooley Wines, she has taken a world of experience and a palate honed on the great wines of the world to redefine Tasmanian expressions of chardonnay, pinot noir and riesling with a deft touch and focus on purity, detail and elegance. Pooley was a Young Gun finalist in 2009 while at Heemskerk and in 2014 at Pooley Wines.
Before she returned to the family farm to take the winemaking reins in 2012, Anna Pooley had already had an impressive career for a young winemaker. That home estate was founded by her grandparents, Denis and Margaret, at Campania in the Coal River Valley, when they planted 17 rows of vines in 1985. Education, wanderlust and the thirst for broad practical experience took her away from those vines for many years, and the estate grew to over 12 hectares before her eventual return.
Graduating in winemaking from the University of Adelaide in 2002, Pooley took a role at Tatachilla before working for what is now Treasury Wine Estates (Penfolds etc.), beginning as a winemaker at Wolf Blass. She then became the sparkling winemaker for Yellowglen, white winemaker for Jamiesons Run and white winemaker for Rosemount, before making a particular splash when she moved back to Tasmania in 2006 to be the Chief Winemaker for Heemskerk and Abel’s Tempest.
Heemskerk was one of Tasmania’s pioneering vineyards, planted in 1975 in Pipers River, but the revival of the famous name was as a brand, rather than a celebration of a venerated site. What it turned out to be, and aptly for the blossoming Tasmanian wine industry, was a celebration of the limitless possibilities of Tasmania for quality riesling, pinot noir, chardonnay and sparkling. The wines made under Pooley’s tenure were widely celebrated and showed a level of finesse that was rare for bottlings from the Apple Isle.
Pooley’s time within the large winemaking machine that is TWE was also peppered with international experience, including stints in Austria, with Bert Salomon, at the great Chianti estate Riecine, and for three seasons at Castello di Gabbiano, Tuscany, as a vintage winemaker. She also became a highly respected and sought-after wine show judge, and was a Len Evans Scholar in 2012.
Today, Pooley works alongside her winemaker husband Justin Bubb, making the Pooley wines, along with those of nearby Clarence House (from where they also source fruit for Pooley), as well as those of Milton Vineyard on the Freycinet Coast.
The Pooley estate has long been a source of fruit for some of the country’s most esteemed wines, including chardonnay from their Cooinda Vale vineyard being a major component of Penfolds ‘Yattarna’ for over a decade. With Pooley and Bubb at the helm, all that estate fruit now goes into wines bearing the Pooley name.
Today, the Pooley wines are elegant but deeply layered expressions of their vineyards, with subtle fine-tuning over near to a decade elevating them to being regarded as leading examples of Tasmanian wine. From single vineyard bottlings to those combining fruit from other sources for sub-regional blends, Pooley Wines specialises in chardonnay, pinot noir and riesling, with very limited reserve bottlings completing the picture.