It was a double magnum of Krug 1979 served at an event that first piqued Emma Rice’s interest in wine, whilst working part-time at the White Horse Inn, Chilgrove, during her college years. Her love of the wine industry firmly cemented, Emma subsequently worked for Oddbins, and then Domaine Direct, a Burgundy importer and merchant in London. This was followed by three years as editor of the highly regarded Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book. At the age of 29, already with substantial wine knowledge and experience under her belt, Emma decided to study viticulture and oenology at Plumpton College.
After graduating she went to Napa Valley in California for the harvest and ended up staying nearly two years as oenologist and laboratory manager. Following this, she did a cool climate vintage at Tamar Ridge in Tasmania before moving back to the UK and setting up Custom Crush UK Ltd – a wine analysis laboratory and consultancy, through which she met Simon Robinson as he was setting up Hattingley Valley. And so began the next stage of her illustrious career. Today, Emma’s role as Head Winemaker at Hattingley Valley is varied, including overseeing the development of our own and partner vineyards. Emma is the first female winemaker to have been twice-awarded the UKVA Winemaker of the Year trophy, in 2014 and again in 2016.