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.
Alice Feiring is without question one of the most passionate and controversial voices in wine today, having spent many years delving into her own love of authentic and natural wine. Through countless articles, blog and newsletter pieces, and several books, Alice has carved a path to not only find but also bring to light some of the rarest gems in the wine world. Whilst her opinions are far from universally welcomed, her integrity is hard to question. She joined me via Skype on this episode to talk about her path and her newest book, The Dirty Guide to Wine.
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.
If you’ve ever wondered what my biggest influence was for this podcast, it was listening to The Crush podcast, hosted by Christina Pickard and Whitney Adams. The podcast was a very relaxed fun look at wine and incorporated guests and very entertaining segments. They started the podcast when Christina was in London, and Whitney was in Los Angeles, but after Christina relocated to her husband’s home town of Perth, it became more difficult to record the show. She continues to write and present, but she has also more recently started The School of Wine to educate Perth wine lovers in a fun environment.
My second day in the Finger Lakes had much better weather thank goodness; it was a bit sketchy driving back to the motel in heavy rain at night (and by night I mean 5:00 p.m.) The Finger Lakes like the Niagara Escarpment were formed in the last Ice Age by glacial movement which not only tore up the gouges the lakes sit in but also shifted a lot of minerals and soil. This makes the region incredibly diverse in terms of terroir. It is also a fairly large region, taking about 1.5 hours to get from the most North East point to the most South West point. It’s lovely driving this time of year, as most of the trees have lost their leaves and it is quite stark. There are numerous small towns throughout upstate New York, looking quite rural but not poor. During the Summer this place gets pretty busy, and there is a lot to see, do and taste. The wines aren’t enough of a draw-card like they are in the Napa, but in a few years the 50% of the US population who live within a days drive will be flocking here to gobble up the wines.
Quick question; how many readers actually knew that they made wine in New York State? If you answered yes, how many knew that grapes were grown here dating back to 1829. Much like in the West Coast, Prohibition and phylloxera all but destroyed the wine industry here, and it wasn’t till after the end of WWII that it was re-established. Until the 1960s varieties planted here consisted of either native varieties or hybrids between French and American varieties. Many might think that it is simply too cold to allow grapes to ripen sufficiently. Similar to the Niagara Peninsula, the vineyards in the Finger Lakes are planted near large bodies of water which have a moderating influence on the micro-climate, reducing the difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures allowing for a more even ripening. It gets pretty cold in winter here though, so grafting onto European vinifera varieties onto native root-stocks is vital to survive the severe cold.
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