Inspirational women: Fleur McCree Wine Entrepreneur

Working with wine


The vineyard © Little Beauty  - Working with wine
The vineyard © Little Beauty

Setting up Little Beauty, was a dream that was a long time in the making. Fleur met her business partner Hemi, whilst working in New Zealand in the early nineties, and sharing the same passion to set up their own modern vineyard, they joined forces, saving together until the perfect vineyard block became available.

Fleur took a higher paid job in marketing at American Express in London where she honed her business skills, working hard on everything from brand management and operations to product development - essential skills for the launch of her own business.

Now, as the co- founder of VINULTRA and of Little Beauty, whose sophisticated wines have made their way into prestigious restaurants at Gleneagles and Claridge's only a year after Little Beauty's official launch, it's easy to assume that success came naturally to Fleur. We asked her if that was the case...

'There have been a lot of difficult things along the way. We bought a block for the company that was too small, and have suffered at the hands of Mother Nature too. She can be ruthless at times, bud bursts, frosts and floods, all these things affect your yield for the year – and stop your progress. Success has come from a lot of hard work and a bit of luck'.

What is your lifestyle like now you have your own company?
'Let’s put it this way – I work twice as hard, I work every day of the week at the moment, but there is a massive sense of satisfaction when things work out, and I'm doing something I love every day.'

What kind of things do you spend your time working on?
'We talk to our team in New Zealand every day on email, and talk on the phone maybe 5 or 6 hours a week and we visit the vineyard about 3 times a year. We are very hands on with all blending decisions, acidity decisions, and flavour profiles. There's also the marketing side too which takes up a lot of hours!'

What advice would you give people considering setting up their own vineyard or making a move to the wine industry?
'I think that to set up your company you have to be confident. There will be people out there that tell you why you can’t do it, but don't let them get to you.

'It takes a lot of resilience and persistence. Another thing I would say is don’t put up with things that you’re not happy with and don’t underestimate how difficult it will be either. Things take longer than you think and that can be frustrating.'

Would you work in any other industry now?
'No - I love the viticulture industry, it's full of passionate people. You’re on a quest of discovery which can take you all over the world and you can sit down at the end of the day with a glass of wine and call it market research!'


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