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Shane and Tessa

After leaving school in 1988, Shane went on to become an Australian international oarsman, gaining a scholarship to the government funded ‘A.I.S’ (The Australian Institute of Sport) in Canberra.  During this time he competed in 3 world championships, commonwealth games and numerous world cup events all over Europe, UK, USA and Canada.

In 1996 Shane left rowing to return to the family farm. At this time he studied viticulture through Sydney University and spent the next couple of years planting the vineyard and learning to make wine.  He did extensive research in Spain, Portugal, California, South Africa and Europe – looking at similar climates, soil types and viticultural techniques. His varietal selection was one of the most important aspects of the vineyard’s development – especially as this was to be the first commercial vineyard in the region.

It was whilst over in the UK meeting with potential wine importers in 2000– that Shane met Tessa at the Henley rowing regatta. He didn’t find an importer on that trip but he did find his future wife!

After a whirlwind 3 weeks of knowing each other, Tessa left her family and home behind to move to the other side of the world to be with Shane.  From London to outback Australia!  They got married in the Canonbah Vineyard, on the banks of the Duck creek.

Tessa’s experience was completely different– a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature, followed by a Human resources and marketing role within a start up American financial services company in London.  An enthusiastic experience in drinking wine – rather than making it!

Having just bottled up his first vintage, Shane was ready to start selling, so together he and Tessa set up the wine company distribution initially in Australia and the US and then branching out to England, Canada, Malaysia, Ireland, Hong Kong, China, the Netherlands and Denmark.

A considerable part of both their roles is supporting the sales of wines in the domestic as well as overseas markets.  Shane’s further role involves the vineyard management and wine making with John Hordern. Tessa’s focus is more on the marketing and new market development.

The couple’s efforts were recognized in 2006 with a NSW young exporter’s award.

They both spend 2-3 months of the year working in their export markets.  It is always a thrill for them to walk into a restaurant in Montreal, New York, Manchester or Cork and see bottles of their wine being enjoyed so far from the vineyard where each bottle began as a grape on a vine.

© 2009 Canonbah Bridge Wines