Ebony Tinkler: “It’s about giving people a wine experience that is delicious, interesting and creative … from the vineyard to the glass.” Picture: Simone De Peak
A series of tall, clear bottles with pink-coloured wine stand side by side on a shelf, behind the counter at Usher Tinkler Wines. A rosé by any other name, and yet, the wine inside these bottles is not really a rosé … or is it?
There are blended red grapesinside, it’s true, but there are also white grapes in there, as well. At the base of each bottle – called the punt – is a dimpled diamond design that adds an intriguing textural detail to match the striking visuals of the wine label itself -a wraparound diamond shaped sticker featuring a teal-coloured skull grinning inside a white circle enclosing a triangle that sits inside an irregular hexagon … of course.
“The figure is called an enneagram,” Ebony Tinkler says. “It’s basically an ancient model of the human psyche that helps to classify nine interconnected personality types. The wine itself is composed of nine different grape varieties, picked by nine different people, and then fermented together, just to see what would happen.”
Ebony Tinkler is an emerging force for change, innovation and creativity in the Hunter Valley wine industry. The owner/manager of Usher Tinkler Wines cellar door on McDonalds Road, Pokolbin, she has a science degree from the University of Newcastle, where she majored in biotechnology andcompleteda post-graduate diploma in marketing.
Married to gun winemakerUsher Tinkler, whogrows the grapes and creates the wines, she is the creative force behind the ideas and detailed images that captivate the intrepid energy distilled within this relatively new Hunter Valley wine brand.
“From day one, we’ve asked the question, ‘how do we make the whole brand unique?’” Ebony says. “The wine is obviously very important, it’s the reason we’re all here, but it’s not all about the wine … It’s about the whole product; the branding, the design, and the presentation are all just as important. Otherwise, people might not be inclined to visit and that means they won’t taste the wines anyway, no matter how good they are.”
It’s this thinking that saw Ebony Tinkler named marketer of the year at the 2017 n Women in Wine Awards.
“It felt like a reward for all the hard work over the last few years,” Tinklersays. “It was also a great opportunity to go somewhere I had never been before and meet other like-minded women to network and socialise and talk about our ideas, share stories and information.”
The number of women working in the n wine industry is estimated to be between 8-10 per cent of the industry, with even fewer in important areas like viticulture, management and other senior roles. The n Women in Wine Awards in London were set up to affirm female contributions to the industryand provide a forum for females within the industry to connect.
Ebony Tinkler, manager/owner, Usher Tinkler WinesWhile the mysteriously-detailed skullmight grin menacingly from the bottle, signifying elements of ‘the individualist’ or ‘the achiever”, with a dash of ‘the enthusiast’, the wine inside tastes more akin to drinking one of the rides at a carnival fun park, with a stick of pink fairy floss in one hand and a mixed punnet of raspberries and strawberries in the other. It’s even more delicious chilled.
A taste of Usher Tinkler Wines: 2017 La Volpe Prosecco, 2017 Nose to Tail White, 2017 Nose to Tail Red, 2017 Enneagram, 2017 Nose to Tail Rosé, 2016 Reserve Chardonnay, Mr T’s Rare Batch Fortified Verdelho.