Growing up in the Hawkes Bay region of New Zealand it is not surprising that Michael John Corbett ended up working in the wine industry, even though he doesn’t come from a wine family. After studying winemaking he had the opportunity to work vintages in Europe, which was where he discovered a great love of the grenache variety. After originally meeting in Hawkes Bay, he joined forces with Burgundian Edouard Maurisset-Latour and his Australian wife Ali to launch Vanguardist Wines, producing incredible wines from the Adelaide Hills, Clare Valley and McLaren Vale.
The Brajkovich family emigrated to New Zealand from Croatia in the 1930s, bringing with them some experience growing grapes for wine production. After purchasing property just outside of Auckland in the 1940s, the family tended the vineyard for decades until officially launching the Kumeu River brand in 1986. The winemaker is the eldest son Michael, who has not only taken their wines to a world-class level, but also became New Zealand’s first Master of Wine in 1989! Michael was my guest on this episode of The Vincast, sharing his family’s and his own stories.
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).
Lance Redgwell learned an appreciation for quality produce from his grandmother, who grew many of her own vegetables that she used in her kitchen. Once an adult he discovered wine and liked how it made him think, and decided to embark on a wine career. His policy was to learn by doing, and over his career he has gained experienced in a number of elements of the industry and in many locations. After much searching he decided to create his own wine in the Martinborough region of New Zealand, and the vineyard he purchased happened to be on Cambridge Road.
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.
Anna Martens began her wine career just outside of her home town of Adelaide, working with one of Australia’s foremost authorities on winemaking, Brian Croser. After spending almost ten years at Petaluma, she wanted to spread her wine-wings. She spent some time in New Zealand studying for the Master of Wine, but soon ended up working at the prestigious Super-Tuscan estate of Ornellaia. This was where she met her eventual husband Eric Nairoo, and through his own business importing into the UK, she was introduced to natural wines. Eventually they decided to find somewhere she could produce her own wine, and they chose the volcanic slopes of Mt. Etna, where she now produces Vino di Anna.
Several important wine critics have indicated that the Austrian white grape variety gruner veltliner presents amazing potential for cultivation in Australia. My sommelier friend James Dossan and I sit down to chat about the origin of the grape, the classic styles made in Austria, and then proceed to taste through a range of different wines from Austria, New Zealand and Australia.
For the fifth year in a row, Margaret River producer Voyager Estate hosted a masterclass in Melbourne and other Australian cities to benchmark new releases of some of their wines. This was my second time at this event; one of my first entries on this blog spoke about the first time back in September of 2011, just before I left for my trip. The exercise is designed to show sommeliers, buyers and media that Voyager is very confident about the quality of their wine against exceptional examples from around the world. Showing even more hubris, they do this against their three key wines; chardonnay, shiraz and a cabernet/merlot blend. That’s serious chutzpah.
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