Ashley Huntington is a man on a mission, with great courage of conviction and incredible persistence. Though he has a background as a winemaker and spent many years working in the Languedoc region of France in that field, after purchasing a property in the Derwent Valley perfect for viticulture, he ended up brewing beer. The reason he was so interested in this alternative path was the discovery that the region grew in excess of 80% of the nation’s hops, which can only be used for beer production. In spite of this fact there were no local breweries, and thus he embarked on a mission to take the same approach to beer as he had to wine; using well-grown local raw materials, fermenting naturally and not filtering. It has taken many years but he is now held in high esteem as the craft beer market continues to grow in Australia.
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.
I’ve been following the incredible work of Lucy Kendall and Alice L’Estrange recently, particularly their work importing some awesome and authentic wines from the South of Chile. I recently invited them each onto episodes of my wine podcast The Vincast, to chat about their backgrounds, and to talk about the launch of their own locally made wines under the George branding. Here are my pre-release impressions of 80% of the wines now available.
George ‘Lilac Wine’ Gently Sparkling Pinot Noir 2017 – RRP $30.00
George ‘Golden’ Sauvignon Blanc 2017 – RRP $30.00
George ‘Picnic Wine’ Merlot Cinsault 2017 – RRP $32.00
George Mouvedre Cinsault 2017 – RRP $32.00
Alice L’Estrange is undoubtedly a lover of culture and language, so it is unsurprising that she got into wines from Chile. While spending a year living in Mexico improving her Spanish, she gained an appreciation for the purity of farming and natural agricultural produce, but it was her friend Lucy who introduced her to wine. After a fateful evening and a fateful bottle, they decided to do something wine-related, and Cultivar Vinos was that something.
There aren’t many people who call Steve Lubiana Stefano, and you merely need to spend a few minutes with him to understand why. He is one of the most affable and soft-spoken Australian vignerons you’ll find, very much a product of having grown up in the Riverland, the product of Italian migrants. In spite of his very generous and gregarious nature, he is a philosophical wine grower with a deep passion for not only biodynamic farming but the history of these practices. His imprint on the island state of Tasmania is immeasurable, and has been producing outstanding wines from the Derwent Valley for several decades.
On a recent edition of Let’s Taste I looked at a few wines from the Vanguardist range, made by Michael John Corbett in South Australia. Sanglier is a different brand they make, slightly wilder in style, and he gave me a bottle of the 2016 Shiraz to taste. Let me know what you think in the comments below!
I recently bumped into Michael John Corbett in Melbourne as we happen to share some warehouse space. I’d seen the Vanguardist wines out and about in my travels as a wine rep, and had noticed them not far from mine tucked away in inner Melbourne ready for delivery. Michale mentioned that he would love to be involved with The Vincast, and generously offered me some wines to taste. Please let me know what you think in the comments below!
I was thrilled to host the first ever edition of The Vincast Live in conjunction with the Ear Buds Podcast Network. Joining me as co-host was wine enthusiast, activist and fellow podcaster (Quickie) Nevena Spirovska (who is also the person that invited to me to be a member of the network).
For the first edition of this new and exciting concept, we discussed the topic – “What are the ‘right’ grape varieties for Australian wine?” Not only is the Australian wine industry rapidly evolving with new grape varieties and alternative techniques, but so are the tastes of Australian wine consumers. With so many different options for planting in a multitude of different regions, what are the right choices to keep up with developments and trends when it comes to vitis vinifera?
Joining us were winemakers and former guests of The Vincast; Dan Buckle from Chandon Australia and Circe Wines and guest on Episode 67 (and Episode 117) of The Vincast; and Ben Ranken from Galli Estate and Wilimee Wines, guest on this week’s episode of the podcast. There were wines for tasting relevant to the topic to fuel further discussion. I’m thrilled that we held this event at Noisy Ritual in Brunswick East, owned and operated by another former guest – Alex Byrne from Episode 80 – where I also made my first Vino Intrepido wine.
The Facebook Live video can be seen here https://www.facebook.com/IntrepidWino/videos/1933081903375167/ and the episode will be available on The Vincast soon!
John Harris – winemaker for Mitchell Harris Wines – was my guest on Episode 122 of The Vincast wine podcast. We chatted about his journey and all the exciting things he and his in-laws have been doing with their wine brand and wine bar in Ballarat. He generously brought a long a few bottles of his wine, and I was glad to open and share my experiences here on the Intrepid Wino channel!
Growing up in Ballarat, John Harris graduated from Charles Sturt University with a degree in oenology in 1999, and soon took up a position at Domaine Chandon. Over the next seven years he gained much experience and by the end of his tenure was in charge of sparkling production for the Yarra Valley-based operation. In 2008, along with his wife’s extended family, he began the Mitchell Harris brand that would eventually be based in their mutual home town of Ballarat.
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.