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.
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.
Based in the Hilltops region of New South Wales, Freeman Vineyards has been on my radar for some time, mostly because they are working with Italian varieties that you don’t see very much planted in Australia. When they reached out with the offer of some samples I was thrilled, and I really appreciated the opportunity. Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Not for the first time I’m tasting samples sent from Topper’s Mountain, New England NSW based producer of some alternative wines. I’m fascinated by this region as I don’t see much else from there, and the TM crew are doing some really cool things up there. Let me know what you think of the latest edition of Let’s Taste, I’d love to hear from you and appreciate you subscribing to the Intrepid Wino channel.
A little late to the party (vintage 2018 is almost over already), but I got there eventually. Here’s the fourth and final video on the 2017 vintage for Vino Intrepido, finishing the wine and getting it into bottle.
The vermentino and nero d’avola components were racked and blended in September 2017, and bottled not long after that. The nebbiolo was racked and blended in October, returned to barrel, then racked and bottled in January 2018.
In a way, Ben Ranken’s wine career has come full circle. He grew up on a vineyard in Tumbarumba, a region in New South Wales famed for the quality of its chardonnay. Recently he and his wife purchased the Wilimee Vineyard in Macedon, another cool-climate region ideal for chardonnay. In the intervening years he gained considerable vintage experience in Australia and the northern hemisphere, and since 2007 has been making wine at Galli Estate, an incredible Sunbury-based producer that also has a vineyard in Heathcote. We chatted about his winemaking journey, his many influences, and also how important the Lorenzo Galli Scholarship is for educating the wine industry on the nuances of Italian grapes that they work extensively with.
It was a distinct honour and a privilege to be named the third fellow for the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show. What an incredible insight into one of the most forward-thinking initiatives in the Australian wine scene today! Here are some of the amazing experiences that came with such an honoured award, I was truly humbled. Many thanks to the AAVWS for the opportunity to attend as the 2016 Fellow, I heartily encourage everyone to consider applying for this years show!
On the second part of a series looking into the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show, I look at one of the most valuable events of the week – particularly for the producer exhibitors – Talk & Taste. These seminars provide a forum for guest speakers, some of whom are on the judging panel, to discuss topics very pertinent to those working with alternative varieties in Australia. This year panels covered three areas, I took some (very amateurish) footage from the front row, here are a few talking points. Many thanks to the AAVWS for the opportunity to attend as the 2016 Fellow, and also for the use of some pictures from the Facebook page.
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.
Jane Faulkner is one of Australia’s most loved and respected wine journalists, with several decades of experience and countless tasting notes under her belt. She is also one of the most travelled wine writers, and is considered one of the foremost experts on Italian wine and alternative varieties in Australia. This is in part due to her role as chair of the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show. She (finally) joined me on this episode of The Vincast to talk about her background, her insights, her thoughts on wine communication, and the direction she hopes alternative varieties head in this country.
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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