Loic Avril was destined to work with wine, considering he grew up in one of France’s most historic wine regions, and sharing of great wine and food was always important to his family. His love of hospitality and restaurants came very early, from the age of ten in fact, and he was determined to follow a path in fine dining. After gaining experience in restaurants in the Loire Valley and northern England, he joined the team at The Fat Duck – at one point considered the best restaurant in the world – and soon received significant attention when he was named the global best young sommelier. When the restaurant relocated to Melbourne for six months he relocated, and decided to stay and run the wine program when it transitioned to Dinner by Heston.
When Jean-Jacques Morel made the decision to move his family from Paris to Burgundy, it in fact wasn’t for wine, his entry into the wine industry was merely to earn a living once he moved to the region. It was his previous influences and experience that not doubt led to him finding a true passion for viticulture, and the decision was made to follow a path of wine farming. His incredible journey in life has not only influenced his approach to his wines, but also his approach to life, as his enthusiasm and affability his hard to deny. The fact that he limits interference with his wines is but a small part in his mystique and acclaim, and spending a short amount of time it’s hard not to find his love of life infectious.
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.
When Marie Doyard says that “Champagne is running through her blood”, she’s not kidding. Not only was she born in Reims and raised in the region, but her great-grandfather Maurice Doyard was one of the founders of the Comité Interprofessionnel des Vins de Champagne (C.I.V.C.) during World War II. Her parents brought the Jacquart and Doyard estates together – all based in the Côte des Blancs – and when she took over in 2004 she had some dynamic ideas of how to take Champagne Andre Jacquart into the new millennium. On a recent visit to Melbourne I was able to find out more about her journey and about grower-champagne.
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.
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.
Growing up in Southern California presented an incredible opportunity to Sierra Reed Milne when she was scouted for a modelling career at a young age, which in turn gave her the chance to travel and experience other cultures. After gaining a following on the 18th season of Survivor, she dreamed of becoming a television travel program host, but couldn’t have imagined that it would be realised in New Zealand. It was here that she began her wine journey after working closely with the Family of Twelve, a journey that has led to her marrying an Australian, and making her own wine based in Victoria. Check out my Let’s Taste video of one of her wines here!
To win one of these gorgeous Wines and Makers Yarra Valley Maps, simply leave a review on the iTunes page, letting me know which was your favourite episode of the podcast. Make sure to email me to let me know which is your review! The first ten reviews will receive this lovely map (only in Australia please).
One of the most authentic voices about great restaurants and natural wine comes from somewhere you may least expect; Hobart, Tasmania. This is where for many years Sue Dyson and Roger McShane have been based, travelling and writing about the best places to eat and drink not only on the Apple Isle, but also across Australia and France, for their website Food Tourist. It is also from here that they import some of the most delicious natural wine produced in France for their Living Wines business. We had a fantastic chat about a number of topics on this episode of The Vincast.
Ben Haines wasn’t sure what he wanted to do as a career, but his father sensed that the wine industry would be a great option. After studies and experience in viticulture, he discovered that quality doesn’t stop once the grapes are harvested, it continues all the way through to bottling. Postgraduate studies in winemaking lead him on a career path that would include vintage experiences overseas, and eventually led he was appointed chief winemaker at famed Grampians estate, Mount Langi Ghiran. Ben spoke about his journey on this episode of The Vincast.
Emma Bentley is an English-born, Paris-based International Winery Consultant. During her varied career in the wine industry – mostly based in either France or the UK – she gradually began to find an affinity with natural wine producers, particularly those from Italy. She made the bold decision to offer her services to these wineries in helping them grow their business and educate trade and consumers in the intricacies of their terroir and traditions. She joined me on this episode of The Vincast to share her story.
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