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.
Without knowing it Rory Lane was about ten years ahead of the modern era of the Garage Winemaker in Australia with The Story Wines. In 2004, with only a few vintages experience mostly working in wineries in the United States, he took a punt on starting his own wine project, working out of a rented warehouse in suburban Melbourne. Fortunately he was able to purchase some outstanding Grampians fruit, and capture it in a bottle in an elegant expression that almost immediately began to turn heads. He is now considered to be one of the most exciting winemakers in Australia, and is an important representative for small ‘virtual’ wineries both here and overseas.
It was a distinct honour and a privilege to be named the third fellow for the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show. What an incredible insight into one of the most forward-thinking initiatives in the Australian wine scene today! Here are some of the amazing experiences that came with such an honoured award, I was truly humbled. Many thanks to the AAVWS for the opportunity to attend as the 2016 Fellow, I heartily encourage everyone to consider applying for this years show!
Like so many in the industry, Brian Walsh got into the wine business almost by accident. As a teenager from the McLaren Vale, he was more interested in surfing that wine, but needing a job he took what was intended as a temporary position with Chateau Reynalla. He spent 20 years working in the McLaren Vale before accepting the position of chief winemaker at Yalumba in the Barossa in 1988. After an incredible 26 years he stepped away from full-time winemaking, and now sits on a number of industry boards, including the chair of Wine Australia.
I recently met Rory Lane who is going to be a future guest on The Vincast, and he gave me a bottle of this wine that he made in 2015 for The Craft & Co. The fact that it was made from an Italian grape, and it came from Heathcote, made this a no-brainer. Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Eliza and Angela Brown were born into Australian Wine History, being fourth-generation members of the Brown Family of Milawa. Their father Peter discovered a particular passion for fortified wines and the Rutherglen region, convincing the rest of the family to purchase All Saints Estate. He bought his siblings out of that part of the business, and focused all his energy into revitalising this historic brand. His untimely passing resulted in his three children taking over the business, and they have continued his legacy of innovation balanced with respect for tradition and heritage. Peter’s two daughters both joined me on this episode to talk not only about the family and the estate, but also their own experiences and perspectives on the business.
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.
On the second part of a series looking into the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show, I look at one of the most valuable events of the week – particularly for the producer exhibitors – Talk & Taste. These seminars provide a forum for guest speakers, some of whom are on the judging panel, to discuss topics very pertinent to those working with alternative varieties in Australia. This year panels covered three areas, I took some (very amateurish) footage from the front row, here are a few talking points. Many thanks to the AAVWS for the opportunity to attend as the 2016 Fellow, and also for the use of some pictures from the Facebook page.
I recently visited the Derwent Valley in Tasmania for the first time since I was a baby visiting family, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit Tasmanian wine legend Steve Lubiana. After an awesome tour through the winery, vineyards & cellars with Steve, a tasting of some of the wines, and a wonderful Italian Osteria style lunch, I bought a bottle of the Late Disgorged 1996 to take away with me. Here I open and share my impressions of this amazing wine, let me know what you think of Tassie sparkling in the comments below.
St Leonards Vineyard is a sub-brand of All Saints Estate in the Rutherglen region of North-East Victoria. Like many historic producers in this region, All Saints have a proud legacy of fortified wines which regrettably is not what it used to be. The Brown family are attempting to tap into a new younger wine consuming market with this new range labelled Hip Sip, starting with a Tawny. Here are my impressions and my thoughts on fortified wine in Australia.
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