My first memories are of living in the Barossa Valley and I guess the wine bug bit me at an early age. Over the years I have collected wine, read about wine, drank wine, had a go at making wine and was even an associate judge at the Barossa Wine Show two years ago.
In the last five years I travelled to wineries in Italy so frequently that the owners assumed that I was an importer. Eventually (after six visits) Monia Piccini of Il Palagio in Tuscany begged me to import her wines and then promptly crossed herself. This felt important so I decided to have a go.
For research (!) I travel to Vin Italy in Verona every year, a terrible hardship. Vin Italy is a four day extravaganza of 4,500 exhibitors (for comparison there about 2500 wine producers in Australia in total!) in 11 aircraft hangar-sized convention halls. There are tiny stands made of what seem to be old wooden fruit-boxes, up to two-storey jobs that are all Italian-arty and have a full kitchen that serves lunch to 100 people daily. VinItaly has allowed me to find small family companies in various regions that make great wine and are also fun to work with.
Fundamentally we are all “time poor” and find it hard to educate ourselves on different wine styles and regions. So many people play it safe and stick with what they know. This is why four of the top selling wines in the country are NZ Sauvignon Blanc. I have nothing against SB but there are many more wines in the world that are similar in style and price, potentially better made and definitely more interesting. So I travel around Italy seeking small, family-run wine businesses that make high quality wines appealing to Australian drinkers at the right price point. It is a happy coincidence that several are organic. I don’t buy for me, but for my clients, and do a lot of local tastings to refine my search.
From time to time I expect also to find small batches of super local wines that you won’t find at Dan Murphy’s. This may even include some wines made by my best mate Dan Eggleton from grapes we source in the Barossa.
All wines have been in climate controlled storage from the moment they leave the winery (in Italy and Australia) until you receive them, so you can be assured they will be in condition the winemaker intended.
I know you will enjoy these interesting and lovingly made wines.