Much like her brother and sister, Sarina Ibbotson spent the majority of her childhood helping plant the original vines of Saint Clair Family Estate, sometimes for as little reward as a toffee pop at the end of the row.
“We had to hoe the weeds a lot and I also worked in the grapes most school holidays, sometimes with a friend. I recall the rows being very long and the days very hot,” she says.
Growing up with Neal and Judy Ibbotson as parents meant being a part of the burgeoning wine company as it took shape in the early 90’s, but it also meant being surrounded by two hard working, passionate people who instilled values in their children and encouraged them to get out there and ‘attack it’.
“They always encouraged us to do our best and to strive for what we believed in,” Sarina says.
After leaving school and moving away from home, Sarina’s involvement with Saint Clair evolved.
“I would come back to Blenheim in the holidays … from Teachers’ College and work, this time at the Cellar Door, mostly doing the dishes though sometimes on the tasting counter,” she says.
Like her siblings, Sarina was encouraged by her parents to follow her own path and she found herself fortunate enough to live in London for few years, representing Saint Clair at a few international tasting events.
“I used to go along with my backpack and stuff it full of wine at the end of the event (educating my palate)” she recalls fondly.
After studying Wine Business and Marketing via Adelaide University, Sarina returned to New Zealand to join the Saint Clair team as Saint Clair’s Marketing Manager and Vineyard Kitchen Director alongside her sister Julie. Her role is a busy and varied one involving cellar door management, advertising, promotion, sponsorship activities, event management, direct marketing and many other tasks.
Living with her husband Mark and three children in Witherlea, Sarina finds herself immersed in an incredibly busy lifestyle here in Marlborough. When not at work she enjoys keeping fit and being a part of the Crossfit Blenheim community.
“I also love spending time with family and friends sharing meals, good company and the odd wine or two,” she says.
Having been a part of Saint Clair Family Estate almost her whole life, Sarina has plenty of stand out memories. From their dog Savvy relieving itself on a wine reviewer’s leg to her father Neal singing The Purple People Eater at work parties, it’s clear there is rarely a dull moment.
“We know how to have a good time at Saint Clair,” she says