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Q&A with our Director of Wine & Beverages – Emma Farrelly

Emma gives her insight into Australian wine, the best part of her job and her top pick!

What makes Perth a great city for wine?

Perth is quite a sprawling city, so we find there have been plenty of neighbourhood wine bars popping up in various suburbs over the past few years.

The city itself has plenty of sophisticated wine offerings, alongside Fremantle (which is the port city) that definitely has a more relaxed, laid-back energy to it. A great place to spend lazy weekends!

I think because Perth is a very isolated city, the people that live here travel often and are open to drinking wine from various parts of the globe. It makes for a nice audience to share some great producers with.

Tell us how you got into wine and how it became a career for you?

I have always worked in hospitality and decided to take a more wine-oriented path when I was about 21. I quickly fell in love with the role of the sommelier – being the conduit between producer and consumer is a really important role that involves a lot of storytelling, which I love. It’s also a very energetic and passionate environment to work in. I love describing wine to people in a way that can help them understand how it can be such an enjoyable drink, I don’t think it should just be a ‘shopping list’ of flavours. The way a wine feels on your palate is so important; tannin, acid and alcohol play a role that will determine the overall reaction you have when you drink it. Wine is provoking, thoughtful and inspiring…

What makes an interesting Australian wine, do you feel they are on par with Old World wines?
The Australian wine landscape is incredibly dynamic and ever evolving. As we do not have the same restrictions in regard to vineyard management and winemaking, we are able to experiment a little more freely. Over time, (even though we are a relatively young winemaking country) this has resulted in an industry full of very passionate producers and thusly thoughtful wines, with respect to the land and the environment. I believe Australian wines are going to become increasingly more popular internationally, very soon.

What would you recommend drinking for a casual lunch, easy aperitivo, special dinners?

Casual lunch – something local…Chardonnay from Karridale (southern Margaret River) for the beautiful saline freshness and textural intensity we get from the region. Or a light chilled red, perfect for our warm weather.

For an easy aperitivo I would most likely look towards a refreshing white wine from Italy – Lugana or Verdicchio, something full of minerality and crunch. For a special dinner perhaps a beautiful Pinot Noir or Barolo. I would always start with Champagne though!

What do you wish more people knew about wine?

The labour and dedication required to produce good wine. It is so much hard work.

What’s the best part of your job?

The people and the travel. I have been fortunate to visit some amazing parts of the world, due to the industry I work in. But undoubtedly, the friends and families I have met along the way are a huge highlight.

What is your favourite tipple (not necessarily wine)?

It is most definitely wine!! And very hard to choose a favourite, but I do love both Chardonnay and Nebbiolo. Although sometimes it’s hard to beat a salty margarita on a hot day!


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