SEPTEMBER 27, 2016, marked 10 years since Laurance Cellar was opened, and, coincidentally, the day it, along with the Laurance Wines Estate, was sold.
The Margaret River winery was established by South West entrepreneur Dianne Laurance back in 2001.
“I bought the vineyard as a family retreat, but after watching the first harvest I was hooked and knew in a true entrepreneurial style this was going to be my next business,” Ms Laurance said.
“Unfortunately for me my vineyard and business has been caught up in a very nasty divorce and settlement court case, which continues today.”
Ms Laurance said the new owner Howard Milstein, who already owned vineyards in Napa and Bordeaux, had leased the property to two different companies.
“Larry Cherubino will run the Laurance Private Estate as his cellar door and the Oatley family will run the Laurance Cellar property as their cellar door,” Ms Laurance said.
“I do believe the sale and the new lessees will be of great benefit to the community at large, and the Margaret River wine industry.
“They will take my vision to the next level, which any business founder needs to feel will happen when letting go of their baby.”
Ms Laurance, who was inducted into the Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World in 2005, recalled when she first started making wine.
“My first bottle of wine, a rose under the Laurance of Margaret River label, brought me to tears as it came down the bottling line less than 14 months later,” she said.
“I feel so privileged and blessed to have been part of this industry for the past 16 years – the wine business is extremely exciting, so diverse and non-stop interesting.
“It is under my skin and in my blood so who knows what is next for me.”
Ms Laurance said she planned on staying in the South West, having bought a new home in the region.
“My other passion is helping women and young girls and making sure they reach their full fabulous potential no matter what circumstances or hardships they face,” she said.
“I know I can make a difference with the lives of many females in the district and so will continue on this journey.”
Having reflected on her time within the South West wine industry, Ms Laurance told the Mail she had always been asked two questions – where did the beautiful timbers used at the cellar door come from; and was she the model for Free As a Bird aka Chick on a Stick?
She said she would always answer the first question – the timber was Ironbark from the Woolloomooloo wharf in Sydney – and left the second.
“When I had a feeling Laurance Wines would be sold, I organised for the fabulous young, arty, and very edgy photographer Stef King to come down and take some photos,” she said.
“Being a person not shy of a bit of controversy, I had Stef take a photo to prove one way or the other, whether I was the model or not.
“I will now let everyone make up their own minds.”