Winemakers pour out their best at Drink Victorian

The scene was set at the W Melbourne hosted by MFWF (Melbourne Food and Wine Festival).

The tables were laid with tasting offerings and the winemakers were ready to pour for MFWF trade guests. It was a superb experience having so many quality wine producers under one roof. 

The array of Victorian wines was in some cases presented by a friendly wine producer not of that house. Apparently in some cases it was a lucky dip as to which wines were being presented and in the case of Ken Pollock winemaker of BlackJack wines, Bendigo (named after a West Indian Sailor of notoriety). Ken was not showing this at the show but this extremely well versed wine producer who started producing 33years ago showed The Crossing a 2018 Shiraz and The Honour, Connor Park a 2016 Shiraz.

The King Valley was very well presented with a meet and greet by the three top producers Andrew Harris, Brown Brothers, Joel Pizzini, Pizzini and Ian Johnston, King River Estate (L to R pictured below).

These three affable and extremely knowledgeable wine producers took some time out to talk to be about what they are focussing on at the moment. Joel Pizzini is launching a Lambrusco blend in three months that will be light and dry and unlike others on the market so will be filling a niche. Joel who I have interviewed previously at his winery goes down the biodynamic route and is an extremely accomplished producer, so I am looking forward to tasting his Lambrusco. Ian Johnston a fellow ex resident of Dubai, UAE and ex Chief Executive of DFSA (Dubai Financial Services Authority) shared some tales of his life in Dubai and let me try his gorgeous King River Estate – Barbera  2018, which was full and structured and delicious. 

There were non-alcoholic producers on show too. This seems to be in vogue now as a new lifestyle option. NON is a superb example of this produced by Aaron Trotman he produces a gorgeous light and floral non-alcoholic wine which is an easy option to drink on a summer day. 

At the trade show there were producers from as far north as Rutherglen the Yarra Valley in the South. Also presented was the Pinot Coast, Shiraz Central and the Prosecco Road – which I absolutely love. I talked with Michael Dal Zotto of Dal Zotto Wines – I interviewed his father Otto a few years ago and their winery whilst he was cooking a fabulous Porchetta on a spit roast. Great memories.

Holly Formosa, Marketing Manager All Saints winery, Rutherglen shared with me her 25 year old Grand Rutherglen Muscat. Being a sticky/after dinner wine fan, I embraced the banana, caramel, and muscatel from this delicious drop. Rutherglen is a region next on my list to visit – watch out wine makers I will see you at the Rutherglen walk in 2023.

Quirky wine labels were certainly present. Humis Vineyard, Heathcote have a superb label but it is very labour intensive and has to be placed by hand. The wine I tasted was a beautiful 2019 Shiraz.

Adam Foster, winemaker est in 2004 launched Syrahmi  (meaning Hugo after his son) in 2017 and then went on to produce LaLa with its quirky look in 2016. It is 13.5 % alchohol and was produced in 100% new oak. Adam prides himself in learning his winemaking techniques in France where he spends three months per year in Hermitage and St Joseph (both French wine Appellation d’origine Contolee (AOC) in the northern Rhone wine valley, France). 

From the Mornington Peninsula – Redhill south side I met Mrs Shashi Singh and her husband Devendra who pride themselves on their Syrah called Avani est 1998 (Avani means in sanscript Earth). They don’t use herbicides, or pesticides and use all-natural indigenous yeast, no fining and minimal sulphur. They are winemakers of Pinot noir, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc, creating their own micro flora, biodynamics (Viticulture and Oenology) she studied at Charles Sturt University and in 200 collaborated with Phillip Jones of Bass Philip Wines to make wines under the Wildcroft banner.  In 2012 Shashi finally established her own winery with the 2012 being the inaugural vintage. In delving deeper into Shashi’s past it was beautiful to learn that her grandparents were agricultural farmers and they worked with the lunar year to obtain the best crop. It was very inspirational talking with this passionate winemaker and hope to visit their winery in the future.

(L to R below: Mr Devendra Singh and Mrs Shashi Singh)

Spicy tuna and cheese canapés beautifully presented.

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