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.
I was thrilled to have been contacted by the team at The Local Drop recently, who are fans of my podcast The Vincast, and invited me to curate my own wine packs based on things I was excited about. I’m very proud to share my first collection, which probably wouldn’t surprise some of you is all around Australian wines made from Italian varieties. I continue to be blown away by the quality of these wines and their applicability not only to the Australian climate but also the culture around food and wine here. I hope you enjoy my tasting video, please head to The Local Drop website to find out more and to purchase, please let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below.
In 2018 De Bortoli Wines is celebrating 90 years of wine history in Australia, and as a member of the third generation, Leanne De Bortoli has worked tirelessly with her winemaker husband Steve Webber to take the company to new heights. Growing up in Griffith where the business was founded by her grandfather, she and Steve helped establish their Yarra Valley-based facility in the 1980s and was instrumental in evolving the brand image to a more premium one. In a number of ways and at numerous times De Bortoli have been trend-setters in the wine industry, and as a member of Australia’s First Families of Wine they are well placed to continue producing outstanding wines and having a positive influence.
Eliza and Angela Brown were born into Australian Wine History, being fourth-generation members of the Brown Family of Milawa. Their father Peter discovered a particular passion for fortified wines and the Rutherglen region, convincing the rest of the family to purchase All Saints Estate. He bought his siblings out of that part of the business, and focused all his energy into revitalising this historic brand. His untimely passing resulted in his three children taking over the business, and they have continued his legacy of innovation balanced with respect for tradition and heritage. Peter’s two daughters both joined me on this episode to talk not only about the family and the estate, but also their own experiences and perspectives on the business.
Simon Killeen comes with quite the pedigree, being a seventh-generation Rutherglen-born winemaker. Growing up in vineyards and cellars very quickly made an impact, he barely entertained any other career apart from wine. After many years of experience in vineyards and wineries around the world, he made the bold decision to start his own project; Simão & Co. It was his intention to champion the Greater North-East of Victoria, purchasing grapes from growers in multiple regions. He joined me on this episode to talk about his journey and how he hopes to change people’s perceptions of this somewhat misunderstood part of the country.
Wanting to pick up a nice fresh white wine on a warm Sunday evening, I stopped in at my locol independant wine store, Rathdowne Cellars. I spotted the Thick as Thieves Sylvaner 2014 in the fridge, and was intrigues as I didn’t know the variety was in Australia. I had encountered it on my travels in Europe, particularly in Germany. After a chat with Jeffrey I brought it home and opened it up! Let me know what your thoughts are on this wine in the comments!
I think it’s time for an embarrassing confession. In spite of the fact that I have now travelled all around the world visiting almost 100 different regions I have actually been to very few regions in Australia, of which there are almost 50. What is possibly worse is that there are about a dozen regions within a few hours of Melbourne alone, only three of which I had visited outside of work. I have had the chance to visit the major wine regions in South Australia, thanks in some part to working in the trade previously and being invited, and also visiting some regions around Adelaide with my father before I left. There is now only one state in Australia that doesn’t produce wine, and that is the Northern Territory, so there are still four states I still haven’t visited wineries in. Returning home I was determined to remedy this and the first new region to visit (finally) was the King Valley.
Gorgeous view into the King Valley on a lovely day
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.