The Pannell family is one of the most iconic in Australian wine, having not once but twice pioneered the vigneron model in Western Australia. After being one of the first commercial wine producers in the now legendary and substantial Margaret River region (Moss Wood), they had a complete shift East to the still somewhat unexplored Pemberton region, where they established Picardy Wines. Here they focused on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and invited their son Dan to be an important part of the future. With such an incredible wine pedigree and a passion for Burgundy, it’s easy to understand why Dan is regarded as one of the most incredible and honest winemakers in the state.
As a teenager, Fiona Donald sent a letter to Len Evans after reading an article he wrote, asking him how one might enter the wine industry. He encouraged her to study to be a winemaker at the best place in the country at the time; Roseworthy College. Since graduating in 1990 Fiona has worked for some of Australia’s most important wine companies in many of Australia’s finest regions. Her work since 2009 as the chief winemaker of Seppeltsfield has brought her the most joy and the most acclaim, and has revitalised one of the country’s most historic wineries.
I was so thrilled to recently find out that one of my former colleagues from my days in the cellar door at Domaine Chandon Australia, has launched a wine brand with their partner! Camille & Chris have managed to source some outstanding Yarra Valley fruit to craft their first Fetherston vintage from, and I was excited to taste the wines and share my impressions. Let me know what you think in the comments below, and be sure to like share and subscribe!
For the past few decades Campbell Mattinson has been carving his own path as a writer and journalist; he has maintained a fierce independence as a freelancer, focusing on the stories he has found most engaging; he grew his fledgling newsletter The Wine Front to become Australia’s foremost digital voice on wine; and he has written a number of thought-provoking books on wine, most recently the incredible biography of Maurice O’Shea titled The Wine Hunter. I was very humbled to be able to chat with Campbell about his story, and his philosophies on wine communication, on this episode of The Vincast.
For the past fourteen years, Ashley Ratcliff has worked for arguably Australia’s most important family-owned wine business, Hill-Smith Family Vineyards. Over those years he worked in many different elements of the business, from viticulture to marketing, operations to running one of the wineries. More recently he has established a vineyard in the Riverland – considered one of the warm-hot irrigated regions known for large volume grape production – and has been planting more alternative varieties to show the potential for these grapes in the region, particularly for high quality fruit. He has now thrown himself 100% into Ricca Terra Farms, and even has other plans for the future.
Joe Holyman is an incredibly well-respected winemaker based in Tasmania, producing outstanding pinot noir and chardonnay under his Holyman and Stoney Rise labels. The respect he has garnered has not only come from his years of varied experience in many facets of the industry, but also from the fact that he is one of the loveliest guys you’re likely to meet. Joe joined me on this episode of Australia’s only podcast dedicated to wine, to share his journey and his passion for Tasmania.
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).
Lawrence & Tim Scanlon grew up in Toowoomba, Queensland, and it was only due to the fact that Lawrence worked in bottle shops while studying that either of them are in the wine industry today. A desire to study how to be a winemaker brought Lawrence to Melbourne, and after many years working as a tradesman Tim joined him and started working in vineyards just out of the city. Their consumption of and subsequent passion for low-intervention wines led them to start their own brand with their own expressions, under the Dirty Black Denim brand. They shared their story on this episode of Australia’s number one wine podcast.
Would you believe it if I told you that in spite of being born in New Zealand and having extensive winemaking experience, Sam Connew has never had a vintage across the Tasman Sea! She has however worked in some of Australia’s most famous and historic regions, including the McLaren Vale and the Hunter Valley. More recently it has been in Tasmania where she has started carving out her own identity under the Stargazer brand, and she joined me on this episode of The Vincast to talk about how her journey informed her passion for cool-climate expressions.
Ben Haines wasn’t sure what he wanted to do as a career, but his father sensed that the wine industry would be a great option. After studies and experience in viticulture, he discovered that quality doesn’t stop once the grapes are harvested, it continues all the way through to bottling. Postgraduate studies in winemaking lead him on a career path that would include vintage experiences overseas, and eventually led he was appointed chief winemaker at famed Grampians estate, Mount Langi Ghiran. Ben spoke about his journey on this episode of The Vincast.
Gilles Lapalus was “born in a barrel”, as wine is in his family in the Burgundy region of France. After working for many years in different roles he took a trip to the furthest place he could think of, Australia. It was here that he was not only introduced to the “new world” of wine, but also his partner. Gaining experience in South and North America, he pursued further projects in France and Italy before he was lured back to Australia and became the winemaker at Sutton Grange just outside Melbourne. During his tenure he introduced many elements to the brand, and also launched a vermouth to a thirsty Melbourne bar scene.
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