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News > OB News > Camilla's having a grape time in France!

Camilla's having a grape time in France!

13 Dec 2022
Written by Jos Hollington
OB News

Congratulations to Camilla Murray (OB 1996P - 2004P) on completeing the Diplome National de Master Vintage (wine MSc in layman's terms!). She is currently working as a winemaker in France and sent us this update on how she ended up where she is.

"As long as I can remember I’ve liked building things, preferred practical things to being sat at a desk, so when I graduated and started working at a bank, I always felt my time there might be limited. I enjoyed my life in London and seemed to be following a stable path, but there was always something missing. Fast forward a few years, and here I am, a female English winemaker in France. 

Living in Essex, I obviously didn’t grow up around the world of wine; in fact my introduction to wine was more based around the cheapest bottles we could find for “pre drinks” before a night out at uni, with absolutely no regard for quality or a thought to how the wine was made. It wasn’t good, and it wasn’t a surprise that it was more a means to an end rather than a drink to enjoy. It wasn’t until several years later, a visit to the Stellenbosch region in South Africa and a increased desire to understand where what I was drinking came from that I started to become a lot more interested in wine (and mostly sustainably produced, natural wine!). This coincided with me beginning to search for a new career path and it seemed like a fun route to try. Most people at this point would probably try and get a little experience to see whether it was actually something they wanted to fully shift their careers to, but I went full gung-ho, quit my job and applied for an MSc program in Viticulture (vine growing) and Oenology (winemaking), at a small French university in the Loire Valley. One of the biggest benefits of this course was an Erasmus semester in Portugal, where in 2019 I first started to make wine, specifically port, at an estate in the beautiful Douro Valley about an hour east of Porto. Winemaking there is incredibly traditional, and even still includes foot treading grapes! 

Since then, I’ve completed my Masters, as well as some WSET courses (essentially sommelier exams), and have had the opportunity to work in vineyards and wineries in Austria and the rapidly growing UK market, before settling in Saumur in the Loire Valley where I am currently making wine for an estate called Chateau de Chaintres - We work organically and with biodynamics, which means using no un-natural chemicals in the vineyards and no extra additions in the cellar. It’s a far cry from the city, and a very different lifestyle, and in a way much harder (or at least strenuous) work, but the satisfaction you get being able to enjoy something you have produced is definitely worth it! 

So where next? I’m sticking to France for now and am going to be experimenting with some micro-vinifications (tiny batches of wine) this year, completely on my own, with the plan to sell wine under my own brand in a few years time. At first I will be buying grapes and borrowing equipment, but hopefully maybe one day I’ll have my own vineyards and winery!"

If you would like to follow what Camilla is doing, her Instagram handle is: camillamurray__ (two underscores), and we are sure that she would love a visit from any OB's who happen to be in the Loire region! You might even bump into Camilla's mother, Keren Broomfield (OB 1980-1982), who we know is a proud mum and regular visitor!

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