International Cool Climate Wine Show 2019
Darren Wilcock plunged into the world of wine because of a fascination with its unending complexity. He quickly gained valuable experience with Mornington Peninsula’s Elgee Park and Baillieu vineyards.
Now conducting tastings at the Merricks General Wine Store as their creative and charismatic cellar door manager, Darren enjoys interacting with a varied public.
Forever interested in new and diverse varietals, Darren understands that as Australians collectively expand in our culinary tastes, so too are we expanding in our wine knowledge and preferences. He enjoys both training his pallet tasting and pouring wine, along with continually learning firsthand from producers and professionals within the industry.
As a repeat guest panelist on RPP FM’s ‘Wine-O’Clock’, Darren also enjoys learning from, as well as educating, the wider community on wines.
Graham has been in the wine industry since working for a small independent wine merchant in Edinburgh, Scotland in the early 2000s. After passing his WSET Level 2 qualification he worked for fine wine retailer Harvey Nichols in their Forth Floor food hall conducting staff training and hosting wine dinners.
After returning to Australia Graham worked for Cru Bar + Cellar in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley where he won the 2015 Gourmet Traveler WINE Australian Wine List of the Year Award for ‘Best Wine Bar List’ & 'State Winner for Queensland'.
He moved to Geelong in late 2015 where he started working for Lethbridge Wines, a small winery and cellar door focusing on export development, social media and events management (including running masterclasses focusing on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Shiraz & Nebbiolo - benchmarking these wines against the great wines of the world). He worked in the winery during the 2017 vintage, making wines from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo, Sagrantino and Greco.
In 2018 Graham opened a wine bar in Belmont, Geelong where he currently curates a wine list with over 140 wines available by the glass from regions all over the world, but wth a focus on cool climate wines from Burgundy, Piedmont & Germany.
Graham has been a steward at the Small Winemakers Show, the Geelong Wine Show and has associate judged at the Geelong Wine Show as well as completing a short course with the AWRI on show judging. He is currently the Chair for the 2019 Geelong Wine Show.
Born in the United States and after working briefly in the financial services industry, Anthony decided to take a solivagant leap of faith and passion by pursuing a career in wine, and hasn’t looked back 15 years later.
Working tableside in the United States he passed the CMS Certified Sommelier Exam and after vintages in the antipodes and Europe, the WSET Diploma. Arriving to Australia in December 2011, Anthony has worked in multiple 3-hat restaurants and currently oversees the beverage program for a restaurant group in Melbourne.
He began the Master of Wine study programme in September of last year, and sits the MW Exam this June.
Anthony lives in Melbourne, enjoys spending his free time near the sea, and maintains that the most delicious food and wine pairing is duck mac & cheese with vintage Champagne.
David Stuart started his wine career at Majestic wine in the UK as an assistant manger. This experience lead to study trips in Champagne and Rioja whilst completing WSET 2 & 3. Whilst in the UK David completed a “Principles of Vineyard Management” at Plumpton Agricultural College. Over the last ten years worked alongside some of Victoria’s greatest winemakers. He brings a wealth of wine & retail knowledge to lead a passionate cellar door team focused on a delivering an exceptional experience. David and his team provide a relaxed environment for every customer to experience the estate grown, hand-picked wines Pt. Leo Estate produces.
He has led cellar door teams at notable Victorian wineries including Taltani, Scotchmans Hill and Domaine Chandon. David has studied with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and in 2009 completed the Advanced Wine Assessment Course at the Australian Wine Research Institute in Adelaide.
Marcus grew up around the wine growing region of Margaret River in Western Australia, and after a few years working and studying to be a sommelier in wine bars both in the Great Southern and Perth, made the move to Melbourne. His four year stint in Melbourne's Vue de Monde as Head Sommelier set him in good stead to expand his work experience throughout the world as the Wine and Spirit Consultant for the Aman Hotel group based out of Indonesia and Tokyo selecting wines from all regions of the world. In more recent times, Marcus has worked extensively throughout Germany and Australia doing all aspects of wine making and viniculture.
During August and September 2018 Marcus spent 5 weeks working with the "2Naturkinder" winery in Kitzingen in Germany. Michael Volker the wine maker is a hardcore biodynamic wine grower in the Palatinate who farms with the Steniner Method in mind calling on lunar cycles and planetary alignments to dictate what needs to be done in the vineyard. The winery is run completely additive free, with zero copper, sulphur, acidification or chaptalisation used at all. The wines are low alcohol, pure, precise and completely unique to the region.
Over the past few years he has used this knowledge and experience to launched his own wine brand "Gonzo Vino" based in on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria where he farms 6.5 acres of 30 year old un-grafted vines. Shiraz, Sangiovese, Semillon, Trebbiano and Chardonnay where initially planted and with organics in mind, the cover crop Marcus uses is oats, vetch, legumes and clover to deliver organic matter and nitrogen back into the soil.
The vineyard has a low yield, about 1 tonne to the acre. Marcus makes 4 wines, a skin contact field blend white; 13 hours on skins, pressed to stainless and left unsulphured until bottling. Sangiovese/Shiraz chilled red, fermented in stainless, no malo and unsulphured until bottling. The shiraz in destemmed and carbonic for 8 days the plunged for a week before being basket pressed to barrel to complete malo. The wines are made with a light touch to maximise the drinking pleasure whilst young. These vines are organically grown and hand worked to create wines and which are “the ultimate” drink now style. The wines are a modern take on the old bag-in-box concept and packaged in fully recyclable aluminium bags.