To suggest that Elaine Chukan Brown has led an incredibly diverse life is a massive understatement. In fact she’s lived several of them. Growing up in Alaska taught her an appreciation for the artisanal and the value of hard work, but it is her love of travel and discovery that eventually led to her becoming one of the most sought after voices in the global wine scene. She is probably most famous for pioneering the illustrated tasting note, something that some wineries have asked her to recreate on their wine labels!
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.
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.
Roughly one year ago I was in Sicily and I was fortunate enough to encounter – at the same time and place – two people whom were amongst the most influential of my journey. The previous several weeks had been difficult in the south of Italy, with researching and securing appointments at wineries in Puglia, Abruzzo, Marche and Umbria. My expectations were modest for the largest island in the Mediterranean, as I had similar issues finding information about wineries, and also contacting and locating them. Of significant help to me was the team at Planeta, who are at the forefront of promoting not only Sicilian wine but the indigenous grape varieties found there. Through Planeta I was introduced to Arianna Occhipinti who is quickly becoming the shining star of all Italian wine, and whom I hope to interview in the near future. Visiting her was the other person, and his name is Jacopo Cossater.
Jacopo writes his own highly visited blog and is one of the contributors to the most influential wine website in Italy, Intravino. At the time he was on his own journey of wine discovery, through the central and southern regions of Italy over a period of several weeks. He wrote specifically about his experiences attempting to discover wines of great authenticity and personality as it is an area he has great passion for. One of the most honest, humble and personable people I have met he engenders both respect and affection from producers and communicators alike. Over several meals we were able to share our philosophies (which aren’t that different), and I was able to tell him of my own trip. When I returned to Perugia where he is based with his wife Laura, I was lucky enough to be able to introduce him to my parents as we were travelling together at the time. I was honoured when Jacopo interviewed me for Intravino not long after I returned to Australia, and as someone who is on the pulse of exciting movements in Italian wines, I wanted to return the honour by interviewing him.
Jacopo Cossater is a very prominent wine blogger in Italy based in Perugia. Amongst the many publications he contributes is the website Intravino.com, one of the most important and most visited wine-related websites in the country. Shortly I will be writing a piece about Jacopo and how we crossed paths as I think he is one of the most singular and fascinating people I met on my trip, not to mention incredibly generous and humble. He showed particular interest the unique nature of the journey I took, and my overall impressions of Italian wine, and so he interviewed me for the Intravino website. Google Translate doesn’t really do it justice so here is the original English version.
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