3 Jul 2012

Debra Meiburg MW Meets the Winemaker 128: Tom Carson, Yabby Lake

Debra catches up with Tom Carson of Yabby Lake, located on Australia’s Mornington Peninsula (near Melbourne, Victoria). After some Aussie pronunciation lessons, Tom tells Debra why it’s good for business and Pinot Noir to be located in “Melbourne’s summer playground”, including the fact that it is a maritime climate, with water on three sides.

They discuss the fascinating little Australian crayfish – “yabbies” – that the winery is named after and why they are so “tough and hardy”: “a bit like vines” according to Debra, or a “bit like Aussie guys” according to Tom. Finally they discuss how Tom got into winemaking in the first place, what his favourite parts of the job are and why winemakers, like wine, “get better with age”.

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26 Jun 2012

Debra Meiburg MW Meets the Winemaker 127: Wayne Stebhens, Katnook Estate

Debra meets with Wayne Stehbens of Katnook Estate in South Australia’s Coonawarra region. As he has been at the helm of Katnook Estate from the very beginning ( 1979), he and Debra discuss the evolution of Katnook Estate’s wine and the Australian wine industry over that time. They discuss the remoteness of Coonawarra, and the unique Cabernet Sauvignon the region is renowned for producing, and Debra poses the question of the region’s “eucalyptus character”.

Wayne tells Debra how the region is at the mercy of Mother Nature, and they conclude with Wayne’s all-time favourite vintages from the 32 he’s been involved in.

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19 Jun 2012

Debra Meiburg MW Meets the Winemaker 126: Stephen Carrier, Château de Fieuzal

Debra catches up with the ever-enthusiastic Stephen Carrier, winemaker for Château de Fieuzal, located in the heart of Graves, Bordeaux, which produces very famous white wines, despite it being disproportionately out-produced by their reds. He tells Debra about their famous neighbours, the dynamic nature of the area and about the Irish owners of the property.

Stephen talks about how his job for the last three years has been to come in and restore and replant the vineyards to match the more traditional mix of grape varieties for Bordeaux, with the next challenge being to rebuild the winery. Finally he tells Debra the surprising location of his first red winemaking job and what his beverages of choice are.

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12 Jun 2012

Debra Meiburg MW Meets the Winemaker 125: Cristiano Van Zeller, Quinta Vale D. Maria

Debra catches up with Cristiano Van Zeller of Van Zeller’s located in the Douro in Portugal. Having been in the Douro for 300 years, his family were formally the owners of Quinta do Noval, which they sold back in 1993, after which Cristiano started his own project in 1996 with Quinta Vale D. Maria (which has been in his wife’s family for over 300 years). They discuss the steep terracing of the region’s vineyards and how Cristiano revitalized the property from a ruin with 10ha of vineyards to 40ha by renting or buying neighbouring vineyards which were part of the original estate.

Cristiano tells Debra that their primary product is dry red table wine, along with some whites, vintage ports and now moving into Tawnies. They discuss the challenges of marketing table wines from the Douro, given its reputation for mainly producing fortified wines, as well as what the unique characteristics of the Douro table wines are.

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5 Jun 2012

Debra Meiburg MW Meets the Winemaker 124: Christophe Ehrhart, Domaine Josmeyer

Debra meets with Christophe Ehrhart of Domaine Josmeyer, located in Alsace, France. Although situated in the Riesling capital, Domaine Josmeyer produces a range of other grape varieties, and Christophe shares his favourites with Debra. They dive into a discussion on Domaine Josmeyer’s biodynamic status and practices, and Christophe reveals some interesting views on the challenges of the modern biodynamic winery. They also touch on the more controversial biodynamic practices, including “burying the horn”.

Debra and Christophe discuss the Grand Cru system in Alsace and its complexity. Christophe is a supporter of the system which, among other things, enables growers to have the ability to shape the destiny and future of the Grand Cru in order to make it the highest quality possible. Finally they touch on the important role of food in the world of wine.

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29 May 2012

Debra Meiburg MW Meets the Winemaker 123: Charles Johnston, Helena View Winery

Debra catches up with Charles Johnston of Helena View Winery, located in the Calistoga region of California, which was formed back in 1992 as a weekend project of building the winery and growing grapes for Charles. Charles tells Debra how they’ve been certified organic since 1992 and how important he believes this is, as well as the eco-friendly aspect of the winery itself.

They go onto discuss Charles’ China connection, both in the past with his role of building the Sunkist and citrus growers business after he finished graduate school, then again more recently when he joined the Shandong Wiehai
Weal Wine Company in 2006, a joint Sino-American venture. They discuss China’s domestic production in the future (including Debra’s question – will China change the world?), where Charles feels the future lies, and what inherent changes the Chinese wine industry needs to make in order make its wine competitive.

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