I visited Australia in 2013 as a guest of Wine Australia. I accepted the generous offer to visit, but it wasn’t because of my love affair with Australian wines. In fact, ignorantly, my impression was that the wines were too high in alcohol, too fruity and very powerful.
Richard Hargreave is a globetrotting, dynamic sommeliers/drinks list culture creator. His role seems to have transcended the traditional sommelier mold, with a broader scope and a front-foot approach to beverage direction.
To be honest, I never dreamt of Australia. The country had always seemed so far away, so remote, and the number of Australian wines I had opened could have been counted on both hands.
‘What makes it ‘Australian’?’ This is the question I have been asked hundreds of times by friends, guests and media since I opened my Australian Bistro, Burke & Wills in New York City in 2013.
The year was 1993. I was a punk kid, just promoted to wine buyer at the ripe old age of 23 and the store I worked for hosted a blind tasting of 25 of the best Napa Valley Cabernets from the spectacular 1990 vintage.
If I could have one wish for Australian wine, it’s that people would stop treating it as ‘Australian Wine’ as a single entity and start treating it as something beautiful and dynamic.
Recently, while wine shopping for my annual family vacation to the Jersey shore, I found myself in an area of the shop that just five years ago would have never been considered.