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Patrick Haddock
 
23 October 2012 | Patrick Haddock

An intersection of fate

No one expects to meet their future wife on a busy intersection. But a mechanical malfunction was to blame for this unlikely piece of destiny that brought Ian and Merralea Scarborough together.

It was in the late 60’s, Ian was studying at Roseworthy, Merralea lived on her parents property nearby and was on her way home in her Dad’s grey ute when it stalled. Enter a knight in shining armour with a car full of trainee winemakers including Philip Shaw.
Scarbie assessed the situation quickly and jumped into the car ordering Shaw to push. That’s what good mates do. This decisive action obviously impressed Merralea. The ute never recovered, but the relationship did, four years later they were married. The year was 1970 and the wedding took place at the Roseworthy chapel.

Fresh out of Roseworthy, the lure of winemaking took an ambitious Scarbie to the Barossa where he worked at Saltrams. But it was to be short lived. Just 12 months. What followed was as fateful as the meeting at the intersection. A drive through the Hunter was the start of a new journey. Scarbie vividly recalls of driving up Oaky Creek road through a procession of gum trees, with rolling hills on either side and thinking the region had potential. The Scarborough’s had arrived in the Hunter Valley with a new baby in tow (Jerome, the future winemaker).

Although family operations like Tyrrell’s and Tullochs were old news, The region was awash with an unprecedented investment boom with wineries like Hungerford Hill and Lindemans already well established, new names like Saxonvale and Rothbury were beginning to latch onto  the burgeoning region. Yet, it would be a while before the Scarborough name was to be established.

From 1973- 1979 Scarbie was the chief winemaker for Tullochs and Ryecroft, an idyllic upbringing for Jerome and Sally as they lived on the Tulloch winery and were already allowing winemaking to seep through their veins, growing up surrounded by vineyards has that effect.

The pursuit of winemaking was put on hold in the late 70s as Scarbie set up a business specialising in winery equipment, a job that saw the Scarborough’s travel to California and it was here, through constant trips to the Napa that they begun to understand what wine tourism could be. It also gave them the capital to fund their dream of setting up a family winery in the Hunter Valley. Scarborough Wine Co was soon to become a reality.

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An intersection of fate