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.
The Brajkovich family emigrated to New Zealand from Croatia in the 1930s, bringing with them some experience growing grapes for wine production. After purchasing property just outside of Auckland in the 1940s, the family tended the vineyard for decades until officially launching the Kumeu River brand in 1986. The winemaker is the eldest son Michael, who has not only taken their wines to a world-class level, but also became New Zealand’s first Master of Wine in 1989! Michael was my guest on this episode of The Vincast, sharing his family’s and his own stories.
For the past few decades Campbell Mattinson has been carving his own path as a writer and journalist; he has maintained a fierce independence as a freelancer, focusing on the stories he has found most engaging; he grew his fledgling newsletter The Wine Front to become Australia’s foremost digital voice on wine; and he has written a number of thought-provoking books on wine, most recently the incredible biography of Maurice O’Shea titled The Wine Hunter. I was very humbled to be able to chat with Campbell about his story, and his philosophies on wine communication, on this episode of The Vincast.
Ed Carr is unquestionably Australia’s finest sparkling winemaker, but you may not be aware that he has pretty much always had that focus on Australian bubbles. Initially entering the wine industry as a microbiologist (from the milk industry in fact), he found a real interest in the science and process of winemaking. In 1986 he was appointed the sparkling winemaker for Seaview based in the Barossa Valley, where he remained until being offered a position to oversee all sparkling production for BRL Hardy (now Accolade Wines). This was when Arras was conceived of, and through his tireless efforts and a close relationship with Tasmania, he has built it to be one of the finest sparkling producers in the world.
For the past fourteen years, Ashley Ratcliff has worked for arguably Australia’s most important family-owned wine business, Hill-Smith Family Vineyards. Over those years he worked in many different elements of the business, from viticulture to marketing, operations to running one of the wineries. More recently he has established a vineyard in the Riverland – considered one of the warm-hot irrigated regions known for large volume grape production – and has been planting more alternative varieties to show the potential for these grapes in the region, particularly for high quality fruit. He has now thrown himself 100% into Ricca Terra Farms, and even has other plans for the future.
Growing up in Sydney Ned Goodwin was really into skateboarding, surfing and listening to the band Kiss. Little did he know that an exchange year in Japan at the age of 15 would combine with a global journey in hospitality to him working for a large restaurant group and becoming the first Master of Wine in Japan. On this episode he joined me to talk about his journey, his influences, his love of authentic Australian wine and his recent role as Brand Ambassador for Champagne Charles Heidsieck.
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