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.
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.
Mark Walpole has been one of the most influential people in the alternative variety scene in Australia, particularly Italian varieties, mostly stemming from his time working for the Brown Family, the Pizzini family, and then the Greenstone project in Heathcote. He has consulted to many growers and producers over the years, and been heavily involved with the importation of new varieties and better clones as well. His focus now is on his own vineyard and winery in Beechworth, Fighting Gully Road.
Nick James-Martin had a long and varied career in wine before ending up in the Margaret River in 2017, freshly relocated with his family from Adelaide. Due to unforeseen circumstances Nick found himself with an opportunity to launch his own project, which he did under the Wines of Merritt banner. In only a few vintages he and his wife Sarah have gained a cult following and much acclaim for their wines that break the mould of one of Australia’s most prestigious (but also conservative) wine regions. He joins me on this episode to talk about his journey and influences that led to making wine his way.
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.