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Wine of Oz

CATHERINE RHEA ROY
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Chat Annie Lundin tells us about getting your wine right and also a peek into the Australian wine industry

We meet wine expert and sommelier Annie Lundin after her training session with the staff of the Sheraton Hotel. She looks exhilarated and pleased with herself and the result of her efforts. “The more knowledge you have, the more confidence you have. When I am done with my training they will know everything about the Yarra Valley and Yering Station, they will understand elevations, how it affects the wine, why wine may taste sweet or spicy or dry…”

And in that window of a ten-minute conversation Annie recreates the pictorial Yering Station located in the heart of the Yarra Valley which is an hour away from Melbourne. She describes the valley and the surrounding landscape that has been broken down to suit the growing of grapes for the Rathbone Wine Group, the family run winery she works for. Currently based out of Hong Kong she fondly refers to Melbourne as home. I work very closely with the wine makers, it is exciting and very educating,” Annie represents the company as their Asia Pacific export manager and was in Bangalore for training on wine tasting and food pairing session.

“I have worked a full 360 before I started work with the Rathbone family,” says Annie, as she proceeded to give us a little background. She has had 20 years experience in the food and wine industry, of which five years she spent as a restaurateur in the Greek islands and nine years in Beijing where she worked as a sommelier, “Wine is about having fun and interesting and is not supposed to be taken seriously.”

“Australia is a young country and over the past few years we have started making wines that are food friendly with more fruit sweetness. We have had a lot of success with our wines and with the amazing technology that we have, we have blended an old world style of wine making with very contemporary tools,” she says, as she goes on to explain how they introduced screw-caps for wine bottles, a trend that replace corks.

“Corks are more glamorous, more romantic, the Americans still prefer cork but we save so much money with the screw caps. You lose at least ten percent of the wine because of faulty corks that are not of good quality, or air could get into the bottle and you are not guaranteed perfect closure. When we first introduced screw caps we were worried that we would not sell because people would think it is cheap, but its the perfect seal and more and more countries are starting to use it.”

She rubbishes the presumption that wine is inaccessible and you need to understand wine and be able to talk about it with a rigid disposition or poetic to enjoy it. “People should be encouraged to drink what they enjoy, what I can taste will be different from what you can taste and at the end of the day the wine maker only wants you to enjoy the wine.”

And pairing wine with food, she describes as a marriage and swears there is nothing more satisfying, “They compliment each other and wine tastes one way on its own and is entirely different when paired with food. And while there are standard combinations that work very well like a Pinot or Cabernet work very well with spicy food. It is fun to experiment and find new pairings.”

CATHERINE RHEA ROY

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