Though Jonathan Ross always had competitive tendencies, it wasn’t until he discovered hospitality and wine that he truly applied himself and found his passion. From growing up in New Jersey to working at one of the top restaurants in the world, his career has always had an upward trajectory. Soon after relocating to Australia with his fiancée Jane Lopes (who is also a top sommelier), he became a Master Sommelier of which there are currently only 249 in the world. He joins me on this episode of The Vincast to talk about his journey, and his new-found love of Australian wine.
Despite having grown up in Rome and working in hospitality for a number of years, it wasn’t until Mattia Cianca was working in Perth that he became interested in wine. The added irony was that he was working in an Italian restaurant, learning about Italian wines, in Australia! Since arriving Down Under he has been on a fast track for sommelier stardom, working at Australia’s number one restaurant (Attica), and now with access to one of the most enviable lists in the country (Dinner by Heston). His talent and hard work was recently recognised by Sommeliers Australia, who named him 2017 Sommelier of the Year, and he is on a path to become a Master Sommelier in the next few years.
Jules van Costello got in touch via Twitter to let me know he was enjoying the podcast, and also to introduce me to his Kickstarter campaign for a new book called Aotearoa Nouveau, all about exciting developments in the New Zealand wine industry. Jules has a background in hospitality and writing, and has already run a succesful campaign for a book about New Zealand beer called Brewed. We chatted about how he got into the industry, and why he feels this books is so important.
Neil Prentice has a career in the wine industry both long and storied. On this episode of The Vincast, he tells of coming from dairy-farming stock, working in hospitality since the halcyon days of the late ’80s, planting a biodynamically-grown pinot noir vineyard in Gippsland called Moondarra, and his love of pinot gris for Holly’s Garden.
Sommeliers Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that is designed to support, educate and provide a network for working sommeliers and other wine professionals around the country. They offer a scholarship that provides an opportunity to benchmark world-class wines and wine professionals and teach scholars how to assess wines in blind conditions. The dux of the scholarship Harry Hunter joins me on this episode to talk about his background and how he made the most of the program.
My first returning guest is Phil Smith of The Wine Depository, and he joins me to talk about Wine Tourism. Welcoming visitors to a winery to sell direct is one of the most important parts of the business and offering a compelling cellar door experience continues to increase in value. We talk about the many options of navigating, visiting, eating, learning and sleeping in wine regions, sharing some of our own personal experiences.
On the third episode of The Vincast I sit down with my friend James Dossan who is a certified sommelier. We chat about what a sommelier is in the traditional meaning, what their responsibilities are in the modern dining environment, how they work with a team, and how they assess wines for their list.
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