17 Jan 2012

Meet the Winemaker (Episode 107): Mark & Peter Saturno, Longview Winery

Debra meets the charming Saturno brothers, Peter and Mark from Longview in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia. Unique producers of Shiraz and Nebbiolo in the cool-climate region, the self-described wine industry “mavericks” tell Debra how and why they are doing things differently and how it is paying off. Debra probes about family feuds and brotherly bickering, along with what the brothers like to do in their spare time.

Supreme multi-takers (they also run long lunches on Sundays on the winery’s verandah, serving their own sausages, pasta, produce and more), Peter and Mark tell Debra why they think the Aussie wine industry is “faceless”, how they are involved in the wine from production to distribution, and where Longview’s focus is right now.

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10 Jan 2012

Meet the Winemaker (Episode 106): Francis Egly, Egly Ouriet Wines

Debra meets with Francis Egly of Egly-Ouriet, a boutique Champagne producer which has received very high acclaim from Robert Parker (and therefore instant recognition). Debra quizzes Francis on what the most vital job within the Champagne production process is, as well as whether the “party” image of Champagne as a drink matches the lifestyle the producers themselves lead in the region.

Francis tells Debra why he feels Champagne has reached its limits in terms of land expansion. He also explains why he would never order his own Champagne when on the wine list of a restaurant he’s dining at. Debra asks about the best food pairing for the Egly-Ouriet Champagne, as well as the best glassware to serve it in (you may be surprised!) and how long to keep a bottle of Egly-Ouriet before opening.

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3 Jan 2012

Meet the Winemaker (Episode 105): Conor Martin, Clairault

Debra meets Conor Martin of Clairault in Australia’s Margaret River, one of the region’s oldest wineries, established in 1976. As a family owned and run winery, Debra gets the lowdown on exactly which of the three brothers does the “hardest” work (dirt or desk?), as well as discussing the challenges of brand building and differentiation in the Australian wine industry, for both Margaret River (which is not the typical “grand Australia” wine region) and Clairault.

Conor explains the origins of Margaret River as a wine region, as well as the similarities of the region’s terrior to Bordeaux, and what that means for the varietals which thrive there. Finally, Conor lets Debra in on his favourite place to drink wine.

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27 Dec 2011

Meet the Winemaker (Episode 104): Cliff Royle, Flametree

Debra catches up with Flametree Wines’ General Manager and Chief Winemaker, Cliff Royle, who left the famed Voyager Estate after 12 years to start his own winery. He explains to Debra the differences in making wine for your own company, as well as the new challenges of managing people as well as grapes. Debra discovers the very first vintage for Flametree Wines – the 2010 – and is shocked at the vast portfolio they’ve produced for such a young winery, as well as just how long vintage takes with so many varietals in their vineyards.

To conclude, Cliff gives Debra the lowdown on starting a winery and how anyone up for the challenge should expect not to see very much of either their family or their money for quite some time.

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20 Dec 2011

Meet the Winemaker (Episode 103): Bernard Lacroute, WillaKenzie Estate

Debra catches up with Bernard Lacroute of WillaKenzie Estate, based in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. They discuss Bernard’s Burgundian roots, his former life working in the high-tech business in the United States, as well as what drew him into winemaking. Debra enquires about the origins of the winery’s very un-French name, WillaKenzie Estate, and Bernard gets dishes the dirt on, errr, dirt. As a former techy, Bernard tells Debra about the super cool technology they have integrated into the winery (like wireless drip irrigation), but reiterates the need to not go too far with technology in the winemaking business.

Finally, they discuss the region’s burgeoning Pinot Gris industry and the style which WillaKenzie Estate favours, concluding with Bernard’s take on whether New Zealand is competition for Oregon.

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13 Dec 2011

Meet the Winemaker (Episode 102): Paul Smith, Wirra Wirra

Debra catches up with Paul Smith, senior winemaker at Wirra Wirra, based in one of Debra’s favorite wine regions – South Australia’s McLaren Vale. Paul explains the Australian aboriginal roots of the winery’s name (Wirra Wirra means “amongst the gums” – ie Eucalyptus trees), and they discuss whether these trees have an influence on the wine produced.

Wirra Wirra is internationally recognised for Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz and Paul explains that the main challenge for Shiraz in the region is the growing environment. McLaren Vale is a great, dry growing environment, situated very close to the ocean by the sea, but site selection is very important to get the right balance in the final product. Finally, Paul lets Debra in on the most rewarding part of the job.

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