Clare has been working in the wine industry for over 14 years. She’s written about wine, made wine, taught wine appreciation, sold wine, drank a lot of wine and in general has spent most of her career talking about wine. That might have been behind a counter at a cellar door, in a wine shop, at public tastings, on stage, hosting corporate events or at one of the wine courses or masterclasses she’s written. She calls herself a wine educator but her passion – really – is to bridge the gap between consumers and wine brands. She runs The Humble Tumbler – a business dedicated to teaching consumers about wine, whisky & gin – and Vintuition – a consultancy practice specialising in training for cellar door staff. She also helps make & sell her family’s wine labels ‘Eminence’ and ‘Nimbostratus’ and in 2016 her book ‘Tipsy’ won the Wine Communicators Award for best wine book. She’s splits her time between Melbourne and the King Valley.
It all started when…
As a teenager in the King Valley, wine tourism was just starting to materialize. Over three years
working in the local pub, I inadvertently witnessed the emergence of an incredible wine region. For a
young person, being able to see the possibilities around wine was captivating.
My parents jumped on the band wagon – planting grapes on their property in Whitlands. I worked in
the vineyard over the school holidays – learning from the people around me about the wonders of
viticulture and wine production. I was hooked.
I worked in cellar doors & hospitality while earning my degree in wine marketing. In between loads of
travel to Italy, the USA and South America – the family launched the Eminence Label to local
restaurants and wine shops – suddenly, I had a real job. I called myself ‘Chief Quaffer’,
Why the Humble Tumbler?
I moved to Melbourne so we had better access to the wine buyers in the city – and to support myself I started working in wine shops. Here, I got an insight into the world of wine courses – and realised that ‘wine education’ was a real thing. The educators I was meeting all seemed to love their job, it seemed too good to be true.
Learning as much as I could through more study, heaps of tasting & spending time around Melbourne’s best wine people, the idea of being an educator was always in the back of my mind. But it took two years until I made the jump, which frankly – was terrifying. But – in 2012 The Humble Tumbler was born: named after a old man I met in Italy who insisted on drinking even the finest Italian wines out of latte tumblers.. It began only as a wine course: aimed at beginners, super relaxed yet informative, with loads of great cheese and charcuterie thrown in. The focus on small groups & quality wines allowed a rich interaction between the students. Just quietly, it was a hit.
The schedule expanded into one-night masterclasses, and then in 2014 across the divide into whisky & gin. I teamed up with the nations finest – Fred Siggins on Whisky & Caroline Childerley on Gin to develop new content. I travelled to Japan to study Sake – and so a sake program was added into the mix also. We began to offer a full range or corporate & private events in addition to hens & bucks parties. In my humble opinion, By 2015 we were the A team of booze education & events!
Tipsy, Vintuition, Nimbostratus & beyond
With Tipsy on shelves in time for Christmas 2015, the last couple of years has been a wild ride.
The book opened up huge opportunities especially in the live event hosting space. Vintuition came to life in 2016 in an effort to improve the service standards in Australian cellar doors. Recently We launched a special project wine ‘Nimbostratus’ and there is, would you believe it, a couple of new projects in the pipeline. Nothing like a full schedule to keep things interesting! Keep in touch via our newsletter to hear all about the good stuff