Winemaker/operations manager, Bellarmine Wines, Pemberton, WA
Vet, in the UK, also later working with ostriches in WA
EARLY CAREER GOAL
Interpreter for the United Nations, or an archaeologist
After Di’s father died, she realised life was too short to ignore her growing passion for wine. IT WAS A last-minute decision during Di Miller’s final school year that led to her pursuing veterinary science. Until then, languages had captured her imagination, as well as the idea of digging for fossils.
But having always loved animals and science, the career direction made sense – and she loved the work. “I do miss it,” Di admits. “You get some clients who are so heart-warming. I remember this little old lady and her cavalier that had a heart problem. She saw me in the street one day and gave me a big hug to thank me.” Di made the move to the UK straight after uni in her home state of Western Australia, soon treating farm animals in rural Nottinghamshire and later, pets in London. In her downtime, Di was busy discovering wine through regular visits to the retailer Oddbins and travels to nearby wine regions. “I’d been getting a bit distracted by wine and got to the point in my career where I needed to buy a veterinary practice, but couldn’t see myself as a practice owner,” she says. “Then my father died. It was quite quick and he was only relatively young, so I just thought, if you’re going to do something, go for it!
Life is too short.”
So Di applied for a winemaking course and returned to university in her early 30s. “I was grinning the whole time,” she recalls. Following graduation, Di worked as a contract winemaker in WA, which included production for Pemberton’s Bellarmine Wines. This led to a full-time role within the winery about 10 years ago. “We’re very much into sustainability and biodiversity, and respecting the land. We’re in a very beautiful spot and want to take care of it for the future,” she says.
Considered riesling pioneers for the region, Bellarmine produces three styles of the variety, providing endless inspiration for Di. Her favourite encounters at trade shows are with people who don't like riesling. “It’s exciting to convert people to it,” she says. “I love improving people’s experience with wine and I’m passionate about education.” So much so, Di is studying for her sMaster of Wine. And having recently bought a house in Burgundy, she is excited about spending more time there, particularly with her daughter who is keen to follow in Di’s winemaking footsteps. “I was thrilled when she told me that because it’s such a great job!” Di says. “It brings art and science together, and you work with such interesting challenges.”
“I’d been getting a bit distracted by wine and got to the point in my career where I needed to buy a veterinary practice, but couldn’t see myself as a practice owner.”