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Behind Every Epic #WinechickŠ—_ Emma Norbiato

By Friday 25 November 2016June 2nd, 2017No Comments
Emma Norbiato

The Australian Women in Wine Awards is focusing on making sure the conversation about diversity isn’t just with women.

“In fact, current stats show that women may not even be sitting around the ‘influence’ table in our wine businesses, so we need to make sure we extend the conversation to both genders, and work hard on improving unconscious bias,” says Corrina Wright of Oliver’s Taranga Vineyards. “To demonstrate how important this is, we have asked some talented #winechicks to tell us about who has stood behind them, and helped them get to where they are in their career.” Today Emma Norbiato of Calabria Family Wines shares her story. Emma was named Winemaker of the Year in the awards announced last week.

Words: Emma Norbiato

Emma Norbiato

Husband – Mark Norbiato

We have been married for 10 years and for some crazy reason chose to have three kids in four years – Archie (7), Florence (5) and Edward (3). We are now coming out of the end of the sleepless nights and nappies and starting to feel human again. In a former career, while Mark and I lived in the Barossa, he worked in viticulture – which makes him my number one go-to person for viti questions. These days he works in broadacre agriculture, predominately cotton and rice. Mark makes our busy life easy, doing his fair share of work around the house – we are a true team. Mark has a love of mountain bike riding, which has rubbed off onto the whole family, however this year we have built a house, so lately on the weekends the bike has been swapped for a shovel – too busy planting gardens.

Mum – Sue Dal Broi

My single largest female role model. Mum and Dad raised me on a farm outside Griffith, along with an older brother (Simon) and sister (Amanda); they provided me with endless opportunities. In year 11 I went to boarding school at St Vincents College in Sydney and my world immediately broadened. I spent the years following boarding school at university and travelling. Mum and Dad would often visit me; once they even jumped on a plane and surprised me in Italy. Dad was a great support, encouraging me to travel, experience the world and learn by extending beyond my comfort zone. Sadly, my father took his own life in 2005 – at this point I was working at Penfolds. This is such a significant part of my life; the adversity here has given me many life skills. Travelling, yoga, meditation and 11 grandchildren fill Mum’s life and her balance helps keep me balanced.

Bill Calabria

I was so fortunate when Calabria Wines asked me to commence employment with them – they have been very patient people! There has always been an honesty and respect for my choice to be a working mother; since day one we have always kept the conversation open.

The dialogue always is, “Emma, you tell us what days you can work and we will make it happen.” The Calabria’s are happy to support me through the early years of having kids, knowing in time I will be able to give more back. This has led to me being involved in viticulture during vintage and flipping back into winemaking post vintage.

I have been fortunate to have many other significant winemaker role models and friends throughout my career and it would be remiss of me not to mention them. Wayne Falkenberg gave me my first start at what was Southcorp. I had worked at Lindemans and was travelling in Italy when I called Wayne and asked for a job back in Australia. After a couple of days he called back and said, “I have a job for you but I can’t tell you where it is.” I took a leap of faith and said yes. Thankfully this job was at Penfolds where I worked with Fiona Donald, Steve Lienert, Andrew Baldwin, Peter Taylor and many other brilliant winemakers. Next stop was Casella Wines where I worked with Alan Kennett and an amazingly dedicated team – delivering two million litres of wine to a bottling wine every week is no easy task. I learnt skills that can’t be taught at too many wineries in Australia. As I read back over this I realise just how many ‘enablers’ there have been throughout my career. I feel very grateful to have so many awesome people around me.

If you have a story to share please email us at with the subject line ‘Women In Wine’.

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