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Japanese sake with experts John Gauntner and Shuso Imada

In this episode we're diving back into the world of Japanese sake, which we explored in the very first episode of Season One. This time I've got two interviews to share with you from my time in Japan earlier this year doing a sake press tour with the Japanese Sake & Shochu Makers Association. First up is a chat with John Gauntner, who is recognised as the world's leading non-Japanese sake expert. A resident of Japan since 1988, he has been writing and lecturing about sake since 1994 and...


Stone & Wood Brewing leads third wave of independent craft beer

We kick off season two of the Drinks Adventures podcast with a in-depth look at the brewery founded in Byron Bay, Australia in 2008, Stone & Wood Brewing Company. Stone and Wood celebrated its tenth anniversary last year and I started covering drinks as a journalist not long after Stone & Wood started brewing. As such, I've followed their evolution very closely over the years, reporting on their key milestones along the way, which has given me a lot of insight into their business and some...


Returning May 2019: Drinks Adventures

Season Two of Drinks Adventures will launch in April with a in-depth look at Stone & Wood Brewing Company and the Australian independent brewing sector. Also in this season, an interview with Beefeater master distiller Desmond Payne MBE, who will notch up his 52nd year as a gin distiller in 2019. We'll take at look at farm-based brewing, Tasmanian pinot noir and Australian craft spirits in various guises. And in Tokyo, we catch up with John Gauntner, the only non-Japanese certified Master...


Cricket great Sir Ian Botham on his new winemaking venture, Botham Wines

A brief return from our hiatus, lured by the opportunity to interview cricket great Sir Ian Botham about his new winemaking venture, Botham Wines. Celebrity-branded drinks have had a chequered history, to say the least. Look no further than Shane Warne's ill-fated forays into wine (Shane Warne Collection) and craft beer (99 Not Out). It was for this reason that I approached the launch of Sir Ian Botham Wines with a healthy scepticism. But Sir Ian is deadly serious about his new career, as...


Inside the Vin de Champagne Awards, plus Champagne Lanson chef de cave Hervé Dantan

We're going out with a pop in this final episode of Season One of the Drinks Adventures podcast. Yes, this week we're delving into all things champagne in Australia, where it's fair to say we absolutely love our champagne. Despite our small population we are the world’s sixth largest champagne market, with the biggest consumption per head of population outside Europe, and our imports of champagne have grown tenfold since 2001. First up this episode, I take a look at the Vin de Champagne...


Heather Tillott of Sullivans Cove Distillery on making world-beating whisky

This week on the Drinks Adventures podcast I play a conversation with Heather Tillott, production manager at Sullivans Cove Distillery in Tasmania. If you have any awareness of Australian whisky you've surely heard of Sullivans Cove, known internationally for some of the incredible accolades it's won in the last few years. In March 2018, Sullivans Cove won World's Best Single Cask Single Malt at the highly prestigious World Whiskies Awards. This followed the distiller's French Oak...


Sam Reid of Willie Smith's Cider on cider apples, festival ethos and more

Some further excerpts from my interview with Sam Reid, co-founder of Willie Smith's Cider. Topics include the importance of real cider apple varieties to Australia's emerging cider category. We also discuss what you'll find at the Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival in the way of food, drink and music, and the planning that goes into it.


Real cider and pagan rituals at the Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival

This week on the Drinks Adventures podcast, we foray into cider and some of the ancient traditions associated with the annual apple harvest. William Smith & Sons is one of the oldest family businesses in Tasmania's Huon Valley. Founder Willie Smith planted the first tree in their apple orchard in 1888 and fourth generation family member Andrew Smith is the current orchardist, responsible for taking the farm organic in the late 90s. And in 2012, drinks marketer Sam Reid partnered with...


Penfolds Wines' evolution with wine writer Jeni Port and fortified winemaker James Godfrey

On this episode I explore the changing face of Australia's most iconic winery, Penfolds Wines. Penfolds Wines has today – Thursday October 18th, 2018 – officially launched The Penfolds Collection, its family of top wines led as always by Grange. It's been a massive few months for Penfolds, which in July announced the somewhat surprising plans to begin making wine offshore, being Penfolds-branded champagne in France and also wines in California's Napa Valley region. The other big...


Australian whisky, gin and bottled cocktails with Starward's David Vitale

This week on the Drinks Adventures podcast, I'm talking Australian whisky with Starward Whisky founder David Vitale. Founded in Melbourne in 2007, Starward is undoubtedly the leading Australian whisky brand from a volume perspective, thanks to David's ambitious strategy of pursuing larger scale production from the very beginning. This has meant that Starward has been able to offer its range of high quality whiskies at pretty affordable price points. They commonly sit under the $100 mark...


Janice McDonald of Howard Park: Winemaker and craft beer pioneer

This week on the program, I play an extended interview with Janice McDonald, Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine's 2018 Winemaker of the Year. Janice is chief winemaker at Burch Family Wines in Western Australia, where she oversees the Howard Park and Mad Fish wine brands using grapes sourced from vineyards in the Margaret River, Mt Barker and Great Southern regions. Prior to that, she ran her own Margaret River wine label Stella Bella to great acclaim, together with her partner Stuart...


Gin without juniper is flavoured vodka, says Sipsmith's Fairfax Hall

What is the difference between gin and flavoured vodka? That should be an easy question to answer. But some of the drinks industry's older heads have voiced concern that gin without juniper berries, or lacking in juniper character, is on the rise. Among them is Hayman's Gin, which recently launched the Call Time On Fake Gin campaign. Says the distiller: "Recently we have started to see some producers marketing gins that have little or no evident connection to juniper. While botanical...


Japanese sake is finding fans in Australia

If you haven't yet discovered the delights of Japanese sake, now is the time to add it to your drinking repertoire. Cast aside any preconceptions you may have of that cheap and nasty stuff served hot in Aussie-Japanese restaurants. Premium Japanese sake is every bit as rich in heritage, sophistication and complexity as fine wine, and it is a superior match for many cuisines. Australian visitation to Japan continues to increase and with that, growing numbers of us are looking to enjoy fine...



A podcast for adventurous drinkers of beer, wine, spirits, cider and more. Launching September 2018. Theme music by Cameo Culture.