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.
Though not born in Australia, Dave Bicknells family most certainly embraced their Australian life when they brought him here as a child. He is a self-professed lover of a good time, so after initially starting a career as an EMT it’s perhaps unsurprising that he ended up working in the wine industry. Formative years as a winemaker working with Steve Webber at De Bortoli clearly had a lasting impact, as he has been Yarra Valley based since then, for most of it as the Chief Winemaker at Oakridge based in Coldstream.
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.
Mark Walpole has been one of the most influential people in the alternative variety scene in Australia, particularly Italian varieties, mostly stemming from his time working for the Brown Family, the Pizzini family, and then the Greenstone project in Heathcote. He has consulted to many growers and producers over the years, and been heavily involved with the importation of new varieties and better clones as well. His focus now is on his own vineyard and winery in Beechworth, Fighting Gully Road.
Nick James-Martin had a long and varied career in wine before ending up in the Margaret River in 2017, freshly relocated with his family from Adelaide. Due to unforeseen circumstances Nick found himself with an opportunity to launch his own project, which he did under the Wines of Merritt banner. In only a few vintages he and his wife Sarah have gained a cult following and much acclaim for their wines that break the mould of one of Australia’s most prestigious (but also conservative) wine regions. He joins me on this episode to talk about his journey and influences that led to making wine his way.
Marco Tinessa was a wine enthusiast for many years before he decided to start making his own wine. Though he was based in Milan working in the finance industry, he originally hailed from the Campania region in Italy’s south, and he was determined to produce something from his area. Until recently this wasn’t easy, initially relying on the assistance of Frank Cornelissen on Etna, then making his wines in a cellar under a restaurant in Milan. He has now quit his ‘day job’ and relocated back to Campania where he is better able to manage the vineyards and work in his own winery.
Peter Weinberg has been at the helm of Brand’s Laira in the Coonawarra region for almost twenty years, having relocated from the Hunter Valley with experience at Mount Pleasant. Originally from Newcastle his reason for getting into the wine industry was a love of the outdoors and good hard manual labour. On this episode of The Vincast Peter speaks about his journey to becoming the custodian of one of Coonawarra’s most historic vineyards and cellars, and how he has guided the brand since he joined the team.
I was thrilled to have been contacted by the team at The Local Drop recently, who are fans of my podcast The Vincast, and invited me to curate my own wine packs based on things I was excited about. I’m very proud to share my first collection, which probably wouldn’t surprise some of you is all around Australian wines made from Italian varieties. I continue to be blown away by the quality of these wines and their applicability not only to the Australian climate but also the culture around food and wine here. I hope you enjoy my tasting video, please head to The Local Drop website to find out more and to purchase, please let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below.
Lucy Kendall has managed to fit in quite a bit of winemaking experience in a relatively short amount of time, both in Australia and overseas. Thanks to her BFF Alice she got the opportunity to not only make wine in Chile, but also import some to Australia via Cultivar Vinos and give trade and consumers the opportunity to see authentic traditional Chilean wines. More recently she and Alice have been making wine closer to home and are about to launch them under the George brand.
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.
All content on this podcast 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.
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.