Growing up in Ballarat, John Harris graduated from Charles Sturt University with a degree in oenology in 1999, and soon took up a position at Domaine Chandon. Over the next seven years he gained much experience and by the end of his tenure was in charge of sparkling production for the Yarra Valley-based operation. In 2008, along with his wife’s extended family, he began the Mitchell Harris brand that would eventually be based in their mutual home town of Ballarat.
To suggest that Elaine Chukan Brown has led an incredibly diverse life is a massive understatement. In fact she’s lived several of them. Growing up in Alaska taught her an appreciation for the artisanal and the value of hard work, but it is her love of travel and discovery that eventually led to her becoming one of the most sought after voices in the global wine scene. She is probably most famous for pioneering the illustrated tasting note, something that some wineries have asked her to recreate on their wine labels!
Becoming the Chief Winemaker for Mount Pleasant Wines – one of the most important and historic vineyard/winery operations in Australia – is no mean feat. Being only the fourth chief winemaker since Maurice O’Shea is even more impressive. With incredible and diverse winemaking experience behind him, Jim Chatto did this a few years ago. He also manage to find time to produce some outstanding wines in Tasmania under the Chatto Wines label, where he has also recently been appointed Chief Winemaker of Kreglinger Estates.
Greg Lambrecht discovered an interest in wine while growing up in California, but his passion for discovery began when he studied in Boston and met the woman who would become his wife. Through family and friends he was able to taste and learn while he developed an incredible career in medical technology. During his wife’s pregnancy he wanted to enjoy a glass of wine but it seemed a waste to open a bottle as she wasn’t drinking. Thus he conceived of a device that could allow someone to drink from a bottle without opening it, and the Coravin is now changing the wine industry around the world.
To be an institution in the Melbourne wine trade you need to have been around for at least ten years and retain the elements that made you so amazing in the beginning. After 20 years as the owner-operator of Armadale Cellars, Phil Hude is most certainly an institution. He’s been in wine retail for 30+ years, and has seen a great many wine trends come and go, and supported several Australian icons since they were young winemakers. Phil and I recorded this episode down in the wine catacomb of Armadale Cellars, discuss how Phil got into the business, his unique approach to wine retail over the years, and the exciting events that are being run to commemorate two decades of continuous wine retail on High Street.
I was honoured to be invited as a guest to the Makers & Muses event as part of the 2017 Melbourne Food & Wine Festival – which celebrated it’s 25th anniversary this year and coincided with the World’s Top 50 Restaurants Awards Ceremony – and who should be at this unique event but a number of former guests of the podcast. Taking advantage of the opportunity I chatted with them about the 2017 vintage, the MFWF and it’s events, and what the concept of Makers & Muses means to them. Please listen back to all of the previous episodes with these guests to hear more about their incredible journeys!
Like so many in the industry, Brian Walsh got into the wine business almost by accident. As a teenager from the McLaren Vale, he was more interested in surfing that wine, but needing a job he took what was intended as a temporary position with Chateau Reynalla. He spent 20 years working in the McLaren Vale before accepting the position of chief winemaker at Yalumba in the Barossa in 1988. After an incredible 26 years he stepped away from full-time winemaking, and now sits on a number of industry boards, including the chair of Wine Australia.
Eliza and Angela Brown were born into Australian Wine History, being fourth-generation members of the Brown Family of Milawa. Their father Peter discovered a particular passion for fortified wines and the Rutherglen region, convincing the rest of the family to purchase All Saints Estate. He bought his siblings out of that part of the business, and focused all his energy into revitalising this historic brand. His untimely passing resulted in his three children taking over the business, and they have continued his legacy of innovation balanced with respect for tradition and heritage. Peter’s two daughters both joined me on this episode to talk not only about the family and the estate, but also their own experiences and perspectives on the business.
When Kate McIntyre was 10 years old her parents established Moorooduc Estate on the Mornington Peninsula, which is not only one of the first commercial producers but considered one of the best. With only a casual interest in wine herself, it was culture and language that enticed her to travel overseas when she was younger. Upon her return she gained employment in the wine industry in a retail position, taking the opportunity to learn. She soon combined her burgeoning interest in wine with her love of Europe, working for a number of years for top Italian wine importer Trembath & Taylor. Eventually she was motivated to return home to join the family business, while concurrently studying to become a Master of Wine. She joined me on this episode to talk about her journey and how Moorooduc Estate is today.
As a teenager, Fiona Donald sent a letter to Len Evans after reading an article he wrote, asking him how one might enter the wine industry. He encouraged her to study to be a winemaker at the best place in the country at the time; Roseworthy College. Since graduating in 1990 Fiona has worked for some of Australia’s most important wine companies in many of Australia’s finest regions. Her work since 2009 as the chief winemaker of Seppeltsfield has brought her the most joy and the most acclaim, and has revitalised one of the country’s most historic wineries.
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