Australia not sure: to mourn or celebrate?

For the past number of years Australia Day has been either a day of Mourning – Invasion Day – or one of Celebration – every country needs one; well, a celebration that is. Probably best to recognise both. At the same time. Nothing is simple about this. Legitimacy is a complicated traveling companion. What is indisputable, however, is that modern Australia has a lot be proud of.

We talk about wine at Wine Ireland. Australia makes fabulous wine. It is undeniable.

Hopefully this can last. I say ‘hopefully’ because many Australian winemakers are under severe theat from water shortages, climate unpredictability, wild fires, declining overseas exports (China in particular) and, often also, fad and fashion. This latter is exemplified by an underlying mistrust of Australian Chardonnay’s that were once little more than overoaked, butterscotched, buttery, headache inducers. Today they are lean, embracing, stylistic and brilliant. Tell that to the ABC club!

What will last is the deep seated learning experience that has brought Australia, its winemakers and its wines to the very fore of the finest wine lists and wine stores across the world. This is an immense achievement that deserves the very finest Celebration!

Over the past couple of years we have recorded some of the great names of the Australian wine industry on our podcast at Kevin Ecock’s Wine Pod. Let’s use these again today to remind ourselves of that side of the argument that Celebrates on Australia Day. Here’s the list:

Robert Hill-Smith of Yalumba : Listen Here.

Robert Hill-Smith is one of the great names from the Australian wine industry. He is the fifth generation in charge at the Yalumba Winery and has just been joined by the sixth – his daughter Jessica.

Yalumba is a founding member of the prestigious Australia’s First Families of Wine.

Yalumba is a winery at Angaston in the Barossa Valley of South Australia. It is also a world respected label bringing us wines from the Barossa and Eden Valleys and Jansz from Tasmania. Everything from Yalumba is quality, value and innovative.

Yalumba Wines are distributed across Ireland by Cassidy Wines

Scott McWilliam of McWilliams Wines: Listen HERE

Scott’s family makes some of the most awarded wines in Australia at McWilliam’s Wines home to the McWilliam’s and Mount Pleasant labels.

Scott held a tasting at the Australian Embassy in 2019 which culminated in two of the finest wines we tasted that year – the Mount Pleasant Lovedale Semillon and the Maurice O’Shea Shiraz 2014. 

McWilliams Wines are distributed across Ireland by Ampersand Wines

Ben Glaetzer and Nick Keukenmeester; a superb double act from Australia: Listen Here

The Glaetzer Wines hold within their bottles the very soul of Barossa Shiraz. They are low intervention wines made from grapes grown on very old vines (up to 110 years old!) in the Ebenezer area of the northern Barossa. In this podcast Ben explains the styles and love behind his extraordinary labels. In addition, both Ben and Nick bring the Langhorne Creek Heartland Wines alive for us. It really is a secret and almost hidden region that needs to be one no longer!  

The Glaetzer and Heartland Wines are distributed across Ireland by ROBB Wines

Sam Barry talks Jim Barry Wines: A Beacon of Brilliance: Listen here

Jim Barry Wines is in the Clare Valley of South Australia. The valley is synonymous with quality wine and even boasts a Riesling Bike Trail!

Jim Barry was an impressive individual – the first professionally qualified winemaker ever employed in the Clare and the 17th Degree in Oenology from the famous Roseworthy Agricultural College in 1947. 60 years ago he began his own operation and today under the guidance of his son Peter and grandchildren, TomSam and Olivia has been named Winery of the Year 2020 by Australia’s wine bible, James Hallidays Wine Companion.  

The Jim Barry story is facinating. Look it up HERE. Their vineyards are impeccable and their wines are sensational.  In this podcast Sam Barry joined us (via a Zoom link) to talk about growing up in a wine family and how proud that family is in carrying on the Jim Barry legacy.

Jim Barry Wines are distributed across Ireland by Cassidy Wines

Emma Symington MW of Wine Australia: Listen Here

Wine Australia is keen to tell us all about their (absolutely magnificent) Australian Wine Discovered platform. It’s an online educational resource available for FREE for EVERYONE to enjoy, explore and to learn from.

In this podcast Emma Symington MW (Education Development Manager at Wine Australia) chats with us about what makes the Australian wine trade tick. Indeed, how does Australia produce many of the finest wines available to us?

A good starting point is the sheer size of the continent, its many climates and soils, its people and, of course, the longevity of its grape growing tradition. Oldest vines in the world are here folks! 

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and let Emma do the talking. It’s such a fabulous story. 

An extraordinary lineup. Many thanks to all involved.


Kevin Ecock’s WinePod is brought to us with the assistance of the Santa Rita Wine Room at Monty’s of Kathmandu – an excellent place that we all hope will be open for business again as soon as it is possible.