Growing up, Giuseppe Russo didn’t have much interest in the vineyards his farther and grandfather lovingly tended on the northern slopes of Mt Etna, particularly as the wine they made in the cellar under their house was being sold as bulk wine. He followed his passion for music, studying in nearby Catania then nurturing young musicians as a teacher, the same way his father Girolamo tended the family vines. When Giuseppe’s father passed away suddenly he made the decision to honour him by not only taking over the family contrade, but also starting his own project, naming the label after Girolamo. Initially working closely with neighbouring farmers who knew these soils and vines intimately, and with recent arrivals in the region like Frank Cornelisson and Andrea Franchetti, in the last fifteen years Giuseppe has become one of the regions most celebrated wine producers.
When James Audas became part of the sommelier team at Noma (one of the top restaurants in the world) it caused a bit of a stir back home in Australia, particularly as he was then only 24 years old. In fact he had already earned his stripes working for Tetsuya Wakuda both in Sydney and Singapore, before taking a position at Ezard by Black. Upon returning home from Denmark he launched an imports company with fellow sommelier Tom Sheer named Lo-Fi Wines, that tapped into a small but growing market for low-intervention wines. In the years since they have grown the business to include both Australian and imported wines, as well as their own range called Das Juice. James and his family now live in Gippsland where they are behind their own project called A.R.C. Wines.
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.
Though initially interested in the study of horticulture, after being introduced to wine, Jim White very quickly transferred to viticulture. After a few years he gained employment near where he grew up, managing the vineyard on the headquarters of Chandon Australia in the Yarra Valley. His next step was to take the Viticulturist position at sister winery Cape Mentelle, on the opposite side of the country no less, in Margaret River. Finally Jim relocated to Cloudy Bay in New Zealand, where he now has the position of Technical Director.
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.
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.
Daniel Fischl didn’t find working in laboratories particularly appealing, and whilst completing a PhD in Plant Molecular Genetics at UC Davis (California) he was introduced to viticulture and was seduced with what lay outside. It also helped that the viticulture and winemaking students seemed to have more fun. Fast forward many years of experience consulting as a viticulturist and agricultural scientist, he and his winemaker wife Michelle started the Linnaea Vineyards project with a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. As he got work consulting in vineyards around the world he and Michelle discovered more terroirs and made more wines, across a number of continents and expressions.
Campbell Mattinson is one of the most important wine writers in Australia. He co-founded the wine review site The Wine Front in 2002 which is now the most active in Australia, and the longest running. He has worked with the likes of James Halliday with Wine Companion, serving as the magazine’s editor for some time, and has also contributed to the annual guide. He has twice been awarded the Wine Communicator of the Year by the Wine Communicators of Australia Association.
When I invited him onto my podcast The Vincast as a guest, he willingly obliged and sent me a copy of his book “The Wine Hunter: The Life Story of Australia’s first great winemaker” which I just finished over the new year. Here are my impressions of the book, very raw as I had just finished it.
Please let me know if you have also read the book, share your impressions in the comments below. If you would like to ask Campbell some questions on his upcoming appearance on the podcast, please let me know. Visit his website http://www.campbellmattinson.com
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.