To suggest that Elaine Chukan Brown has led an incredibly diverse life is a massive understatement. In fact she’s lived several of them. Growing up in Alaska taught her an appreciation for the artisanal and the value of hard work, but it is her love of travel and discovery that eventually led to her becoming one of the most sought after voices in the global wine scene. She is probably most famous for pioneering the illustrated tasting note, something that some wineries have asked her to recreate on their wine labels!
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.
Sarah Ahmed left a career in law to pursue a passion for wine, particularly for investigating and reading clues in wine, hence the alias The Wine Detective. After working for many years with wine retailer Oddbins, she became an independent wine communicator and educator, and since 2005 has contributed to some of the worlds foremost publications and reference books, particularly in her renowned fields of Australian and Portuguese wines.
Tyson Stelzer should be a name familiar to any wine lover in Australia, as he is one of the most prolific and celebrated wine communicators in the country. A visit to the Barossa Valley in 1998 started him on a trajectory of wine enthusiasm, which he explored both online and in print. Throughout his wine career he has been associated with a number of passions; an affinity with screw-cap closures on red wines; the great Australian blend of cabernet sauvignon and shiraz; and more recently a close relationship with Champagne. He joined me on this episode to talk about his journey and some of his current projects.
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).
Jane Faulkner is one of Australia’s most loved and respected wine journalists, with several decades of experience and countless tasting notes under her belt. She is also one of the most travelled wine writers, and is considered one of the foremost experts on Italian wine and alternative varieties in Australia. This is in part due to her role as chair of the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show. She (finally) joined me on this episode of The Vincast to talk about her background, her insights, her thoughts on wine communication, and the direction she hopes alternative varieties head in this country.
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.
Walter Speller embraced wine in post-Cold War Berlin, particularly from Italy and Australia. After relocating to London, he was asked by Jancis Robinson if he would be interested in writing for her website, mostly as she admired him speaking his mind at a wine event. Since then he has become the main Italian correspondent, splitting his time between the UK and Padova. He has continued his interest in Australian wines, his opinion of Italian-variety-based wines in particular improving all the time. Walter was in Australia partly as a guest of the Melbourne International Food & Wine Festival, where I sat down with him to record this episode of The Vincast.
It was the lure of the exotic that brought Amanda Barnes – a journalist and writer from Hampshire, England – to South America. Surprisingly it wasn’t until she arrived in Argentina that she discovered a passion for wine and food, and was particularly seduced by the Mendoza region. As she discovered Chile and other parts of the continent, she carved a niche in writing about food, wine and travel in Latin America. Now she is embarking on a journey of truly epic proportions, attempting to visit 42 wine-producing countries during their vintages in the space of two years. Every step will be chronicled and communicated extensively, with the idea of subscribers joining the odyssey through a number of different media. On this episode of The Vincast Amanda talks about how she became such an authority of the wines of South America, and how she conceived of this ambitious concept to travel Around the World in 80 Harvests.
Most wine enthusiasts and professionals would be familiar with the name Max Allen, as for the past few decades he has been one of the foremost authorities on Australian wine. He has been a contributor to most of the countries important wine and food publications, and has himself penned a number of successful books including The Future Makers and Crush. He is such an advocate for authentic Australian wine that many may be unaware he is actually an ex-pat having emigrated here from England in the early 1990s! This partly explains his great passion for ciders, which we only briefly touched on in this fascinating chat about his background and philosophies on wine and wine communication.
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
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