Geelong Today: A Moment with Stephen Cronk

Australian Geelong Today interviews Stephen Cronk in a Q&A about the journey he and Jeany Cronk, his wife and co-founder, have taken to realise their dream and build the Mirabeau brand.

Why is the appeal of making wines so strong for you?
I got the bug for making wine in Australia when I was 19. Next month it’ll be 40 years since I moved to Australia for a year. I hitch-hiked from Sydney to Adelaide and took a bike around the Barossa Valley. I became completely captivated by the wine world when I was in the Barossa Valley. When I married my wife Jeany (pictured) in 1998, I said to her “One day, darling I want to pay off the mortgage and go buy a vineyard”. We sold the house in 2009 and moved to Provence to create Maison Mirabeau from scratch.

How hard were those early years?
It was tough because none of us spoke French, none of us had made wine before. It was tough on the kids and my wife because suddenly we took them away from their friends, work, culture and their language. My god I felt the pressure!

And they’ve come around now?
Just about! The trouble is my youngest son is 14, he identifies as French now, which is difficult
when it comes to rugby season.

What was your vision for Maison Mirabeau and did you meet that?
My dream was to always have my own wine estate. It took five years to find the right place. I
looked at 39 vineyards before we found the right place for Mirabeau. Now we’re selling our wines
in 60 countries. Last year we were the best selling Provence brand in the UK and Australia’s
our fourth market. I love the fact that the dream started here.

Now you’ve expanded to gin too.
We could never figure out the leap from making wine to making gin until we discovered
the that the alcohol from grape skins is super, super smooth and lends itself so well to a gin.
And we’re in Provence, which is also the home of perfume, so we’ve got so many botanicals to
choose from.

What is the Maison Mirabeau range now?
We make eight different rosés and one gin.

Maison Mirabeau is available from Dan Murphy’s.