ENTHUSIASM for all things wool is evident after a chat with farmer's wife and business woman Catriona Rowntree.
While Catriona made her name as a travel reporter on television, since marrying Geelong farmer James Pettit she's embraced farm life with gusto and could now be heading for an entirely new mantle as the Queen of Wool.
In the coming year, she will bring out an entirely woollen range of baby clothes in partnership with Target.
It is her sixth range with the store, and has been designed with full adherence to her new farming life, mixed with the quality and classic tones that will make the designs timeless.
"There's no fluoro allowed," Catriona laughs. "It's all about family. If you can't put one of the garments on with one hand while feeding the baby with the other, then it doesn't make the cut. And it's got to be made at the most affordable price."
And while another season of The Farmer Wants a Wife wraps up, and the romance of life on-farm meets reality in a new era of career-driven women, Catriona concedes the thought of life on-farm was something she ran from for a long time.
"I ran from it for a long time because I never thought it would work," she said.
"It's been a long road, but I find farm life is a constant source of inspiration. I've embraced it, and it's certainly embraced me too. And it offers me a point of difference in my professional life now.
"I'm genuinely passionate about the wool we produce. Australia produces the best wool in the world. It's biodegradable, easy-to-wash and it gets down to quality. As a mum I want to buy something that is going to last for yonks, and a product that can be covered in dirt, but washes up well, time and time again."
Catriona says life with husband James the best looking farmer in the world according to his 'unbiased' wife is a constant battle between the pretty and the practical.
"My next project is to produce a clothing line using the wool from our own property," she said.
"James doesn't think I can do it, but I'll show him."
With the drive she's taken in her first years on-farm, this little duck-to-water might just prove him wrong. Watch this space.
* This article appeared as part of the Southern Victoria Merino preview in the October 4 edition of Stock & Land.