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Meet Alice Rule, winemaker at 3Sixty2

Meet Alice Rule, winemaker at 3Sixty2

I’ve got a love-hate relationship with Instagram and recently read the perfect quote, well on Instagram of course: “Sometimes, when I’m feeling really overwhelmed, I like to sit back, take a deep breath, make a list of everything I need to do and then spend 3-4 hours looking at photos of complete strangers on Instagram!” It still makes me laugh really…

BUT then there are times when you come across boutique producers or inspiring makers that definitely make hours of pointless scrolling worth while.

Alice from 3Sixty2 is one of those. I stumbled upon her profile and beautiful content a few weeks back, eager to find out more about this down to earth, young maker and go-getter.

I’m excited to be sharing a Q&A with her today. Let’s get straight into it…

Hi Alice, tell us a bit more about 3Sixty2. What’s the story behind the name?

A play-on-words is one thing.  A play-on-numbers, however holds meaning deeper than the roots of the vines that are harvested or the very purpose of our trade.  Numbers mark the starting point of what has grown to be one of New Zealand’s greatest success stories.

570 is the number of vine cuttings James Busby had accumulated from Europe before taking on a role as British Resident in NZ (Waitangi).  Only 362 however survived the journey and that’s how my name came about.

My career began at a winery Marsden Estate in the Far North, when I was kicked out of school my first job was at a cafe called Waikokapu on the Treaty Grounds. And when I won Esk Valley top viticulture student, I was given a book ‘Chances and Visionaries by Keith Stewart’ that taught me about the influential character James Busby.

When and why did you start this wine venture?

I don’t tolerate being held back, and I quite honestly never worked for someone who believed in me. I found myself slaving my guts out for literally peanuts (I never made more than $18 in the industry until I became self-employed; despite having a double degree and 8 years experience).  I believed I would be happier taking a risk and flying solo. Believe these early efforts hustling is better invested in my own business than someone else’s.

It also makes me angry seeing so much good talent leaving the industry because wineries and vineyards don’t pay properly, or treat staff fair. So I would like to scoop them up, and get them working for me when I get a bit bigger.

I started this venture back in 2016 but have only recently launched my first wine and created a proper brand and company in January this year 2018.

When and why did you fall in love with wine?

My Dad tells me I started my first vineyard role as a toddler in nappies rolling around in his Ford6610 breaking in the land which is now Omata Estate in Russell. I’ve grown up on dairy farms, and loved the land. I trained as a chef when I was asked to leave high school, and worked in a winery restaurant.  Didn’t care so much for the food so my boss got me into the winery and vineyard, and later shipped me off to EIT in the Hawke’s Bay.

If you were a wine, what wine would you be?

Tough question. Tannat. Strong, bold, rare species in New Zealand, hard to ripen haha, takes a bit of age haha, omg but courageous and interesting – best with food, I get so hangry.

Why did you choose to become a winemaker? 

Because I was fed up being a very skilled, over qualified technical viticulturist, and having under skilled bird scarers zooming around on a bike honking horns getting paid more than me.

I love being on the land, I grew up on farms, new all the paddocks and rivers off the back of my hand. I learnt grape growing and winemaking doesn’t come with 4am starts (like milking cows) or getting poo’d on, or working 365 days of the year.

I love wine because its indicative of the vintage it was grown, and when you spend so much time out in the vineyards, you remember those times….like when the dog poo’d in front of your mower, or the time when the tractor fell off the truck, or the time the I threw a bin of grapes at a guy because he was being lazy.

Share a fact about yourself that only a few know

I have the worst bird phobia.  Like everyone teases me because I’m supposed to be this staunch farm girl. But actually I run away from chickens and ducks (walking birds are the worst). When I found bird nests in the vines, it would kinda make me throw-up and I would tag the bay and come back with a dog or someone else to get it out.

Things you still want to do – what’s on your professional and personal bucket lists?

Professional:  Create a strong conscious consumer, award-winning brand.  Craft exceptional, unconventional brave wines every vintage – and add a Rose, Chardonnay and Syrah to the portfolio.  I want to make my distributors and consumers proud of me.

Personal:  To be the best Rescue Helicopter Ambassador I can be. I run their instagram account, and recently ran a major fundraiser alongside MoreFM at the Duke of Marlborough in November to raise money for our annual appeal.  We have two new Sikorskys getting fitted out now and I’m incredibly honoured to work alongside these local heroes.

Dead or alive, who would you like to share a glass of vino with

Dad.  He taught me everything I know.  Raised me to work seriously hard, has a heart of gold and distributes my wine all over Northland while he moves bulls, shears sheep, or sells hay or whatever he gets up to.

Don’t see a lot of him but when I do, I always bring him a tasty Hawke’s Bay Cabernet.

Find out more about Alice and her 3Sixty2 journey on her website and make sure you follow her on Instagram | Facebook & Twitter.