Kate and Penelope Radburnd, the mother-daughter duo behind the New Zealand winery Radburnd Cellars, are known for producing uncompromising wine. Kate grew up in Adelaide with wine-loving parents and went on to study Oenology at the University of Adelaide before putting down roots in New Zealand. She passed her love for wine on to her daughter Penelope, who followed in her mother's footsteps to study at the University of Adelaide.

Kate and Penelope are set to join us at Tasting Australia for The University of Adelaide's drinks masterclasses, Mother Wine. Before they get here, learn more about their background and the parallel's between the wine regions of South Australia and New Zealand's Hawkes Bay.


Both: What drew you to the University of Adelaide and to winemaking?

Kate: I'm Adelaide girl and when I left school, I was uncertain what to do, but it was always going to be science based. My parents advised a generic science degree which I did for a year. During that time I sought advice from The University of Adelaide careers advisor and Oenology was a standout recommendation which I undertook with enthusiasm!

Penelope: It felt special as Mum was from Adelaide and studied winemaking there too. It was another bonus that I still have family there which helped to feel settled moving overseas. When you’re 5 years old stomping on the stems bin at the end of the destemmer and helping to take brix & temps on ferment round- it’s pretty easy to fall in love with the industry when growing up in it. My father was also a viticulturalist so wine is well and truly in the blood! 


Both: How have experiences in South Australia influenced your work?

Kate: Growing up in Adelade with parents who loved wine was my intitiation, we were introduced at a very young age to wine which simply got me hooked. All my foundation wine knowledge has come from studying Oenology, it has been a perfect platform. 

Penelope: Working at Shaw + Smith was eye opening in terms of their techniques to produce premium wines. It was my first ever introduction to a sorting table and seeing how a bin of ‘average’ fruit can very quickly turn into top quality! At Radburnd Cellars, we hand pick and put across a sorting table every parcel that we receive. 


Kate: You grew up in Adelaide – how do you think of the city today? 

Kate: Adelaide is my hometown and it is always home for me, even after 40+ years in New Zealand. I left on graduation at 21 years but regularly return to Adelaide as my family is still based there, along with Sydney. Adelaide is vibrant. The SA wine growing regions are fabulous and diverse and the hospitality restaurant, and wine culture scene is dynamic. 


Penelope: How early in life did you decide to pursue winemaking as a career? 

Penelope: At our previous family winery, on a Friday afternoon the staff would often debate a blind wine. When I was ~12, I shocked everyone in the room by *guessing* every single aspect of a wine correctly. Everyone’s jaw in the room dropped and in that moment I thought “Hey, this might be for me!”


Kate: Do Adelaide and Hawkes Bay share any similarities as wine-producing regions? 

Kate: Both Adelaide and Hawkes Bay are designated one of the great Wine Capitals of the World (only 12 regions globally achieved this so far), which I think shows huge alignment. A focus on quality, regionality and sub regionality, embracing our diversity and quality.


Penelope: How significant is it for a region to be recognised as a Great Wine Capital? 

Penelope: For Hawke’s Bay in particular – it’s a huge accomplishment. The New Zealand wine industry is recognised internationally predominantly for Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (high volume and low price). For a region who is truly pushing world class quality and pricing which reflects this, only positive things can come for us!


Kate: Radburn Cellars is known for making uncompromising wine. What does that mean in practice? 

Kate: Working with our best grape partners and suppliers who understand what we are trying to achieve. A totally hands on approach to every step of production, literally doing every step the best way  identified we can.


Penelope: Do you seek to distinguish your style from your mother’s, or are you aligned on approach? 

Penelope: Mum and I are very aligned on the style of wine we want to produce. We have looked forward to debating barrel selections- On our first blending session together we agreed on every single barrel tasted blind, apart from 1. It was rather anticlimactic! 2024 is our first vintage making wine together, so our first real look into how differently we do things. 


Kate: Can your winemaking philosophy be distilled to a single sentence?

Kate: Showcasing Hawkes Bays ageworthy wines in the best way we can, based on elegance and refinement.


Penelope: What’s one of your favourite South Australian wines? 

Kate: Oh there are so many but I will have to go with either M3 Chardonnay or Polish Hill Riesling.