Born in England, Gary Walsh moved to Australia with his family and after completing his studies moved back to the United Kingdom. Working in London in the IT industry, he discovered a love of wine and an interest in discussing it. Once back in Australia he launched his own wine review site before joining forces with Campbell Mattinson and launching The Wine Front. This website was ahead of its time in providing content behind a paywall, and it has become one of the most active and visited wine websites in the country. He joined me in September of 2020 to chat about his story.
Growing up, Giuseppe Russo didn’t have much interest in the vineyards his farther and grandfather lovingly tended on the northern slopes of Mt Etna, particularly as the wine they made in the cellar under their house was being sold as bulk wine. He followed his passion for music, studying in nearby Catania then nurturing young musicians as a teacher, the same way his father Girolamo tended the family vines. When Giuseppe’s father passed away suddenly he made the decision to honour him by not only taking over the family contrade, but also starting his own project, naming the label after Girolamo. Initially working closely with neighbouring farmers who knew these soils and vines intimately, and with recent arrivals in the region like Frank Cornelisson and Andrea Franchetti, in the last fifteen years Giuseppe has become one of the regions most celebrated wine producers.
When James Audas became part of the sommelier team at Noma (one of the top restaurants in the world) it caused a bit of a stir back home in Australia, particularly as he was then only 24 years old. In fact he had already earned his stripes working for Tetsuya Wakuda both in Sydney and Singapore, before taking a position at Ezard by Black. Upon returning home from Denmark he launched an imports company with fellow sommelier Tom Sheer named Lo-Fi Wines, that tapped into a small but growing market for low-intervention wines. In the years since they have grown the business to include both Australian and imported wines, as well as their own range called Das Juice. James and his family now live in Gippsland where they are behind their own project called A.R.C. Wines.
Though not born in Australia, Dave Bicknells family most certainly embraced their Australian life when they brought him here as a child. He is a self-professed lover of a good time, so after initially starting a career as an EMT it’s perhaps unsurprising that he ended up working in the wine industry. Formative years as a winemaker working with Steve Webber at De Bortoli clearly had a lasting impact, as he has been Yarra Valley based since then, for most of it as the Chief Winemaker at Oakridge based in Coldstream.
For the past 30 years the Pizzini family have been at the forefront of Italian grape variety based wines, not only in the King Valley where they are based, but for the whole country. Working with respected viticulturist Mark Walpole and Tuscan consultant Alberto Antonini, they established a stronghold and pedigree for varieties like sangiovese and nebbiolo. Much of the success of Pizzini Wines is owed to Fred Pizzini, who not only converted the family property to viticulture, but also saw the potential of embracing his Italian heritage by planting then unknown and untested varieties. They are today considered not only one of the largest but also most experienced producers of wines made from Italian varieties, now made by Fred’s son Joel.
Huon Hooke is one of the most senior and respected wine critics in Australia, having reviewed and written about wine in such publications as the Sydney Morning Herald, Gourmet Traveller Wine, and Decanter. Along with other well-known experienced wine judges he runs The Real Review, an independent, subscription-only resource for wine consumers, and wine producers across Australia and New Zealand submit their wines for assessment by these panels. If you hadn’t seen it on with my Vino Intrepido website, or on social media, Huon and the team were pretty happy with a number of my 2019 Italian-varietal wines, particularly the Mornington Peninsula Fiano, and the Heathcote Sangiovese. He selected the latter to be included in an online live tasting of Australian examples of Italian varieties, and I couldn’t be happier with what he said. I encourage you to watch, it was an enlightening exploration into the immense potential these cultivars have across the country.
Though it was working in hospitality in Yorkshire that first introduced her to wine, working for Majestic Wine gave Curly Haslam-Coates more opportunity to explore. It was also here she began her wine education in WSET, something she has continued to put great value in, as she has been one of the most important wine educators based in Tasmania. Her love of the Apple Isle and sparkling wine has recently seen her join the team at The Wine Front.
Though initially interested in the study of horticulture, after being introduced to wine, Jim White very quickly transferred to viticulture. After a few years he gained employment near where he grew up, managing the vineyard on the headquarters of Chandon Australia in the Yarra Valley. His next step was to take the Viticulturist position at sister winery Cape Mentelle, on the opposite side of the country no less, in Margaret River. Finally Jim relocated to Cloudy Bay in New Zealand, where he now has the position of Technical Director.
Growing up in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, David Clarke’s interest in wine came initially from his time working in state government. His wine career proper started working in the Harrod’s wine department in London, which is where he met his wife Jeanette. Upon his return to Australia, he followed a career as a sommelier, before he and Jeanette returned to her birthplace, South Africa. Since relocating they have established a business distributing independent wine producers both domestically and also to Australia through Ex-Animo Wines.
After being politely asked to leave his university degree in Adelaide, Nick Ryan found himself living in Sydney in need of a vocation. He spent many years in wine retail where he cultivated a passion for communication. Since then he has become one of Australia’s foremost freelance wine writers, bringing an acerbic wit and a personal flair to his craft.
The Vincast - a Wine Podcast with The Intrepid Wino
Wine - Wine People - Wine Culture
A podcast about wine, wine culture and wine people. Every week a different guest from the wine industry joins host The Intrepid Wino (aka James Scarcebrook) for a casual chat about the world of wine.
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All content on this website, including text, images, audio and video, remains the sole property of the author unless otherwise acknowledged and appropriately credited. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of content without express and written permission from the author is strictly prohibited. Content may be used for reproduction provided that full and clear credit is given to James Scarcebrook and/or The Intrepid Wino with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.