This article is brought to you by Chris Ringland.
Aussie produce is earning praise on the global stage, thanks to pioneers like these.
Chris Ringland wines
South Australia’s Barossa Valley is synonymous with big, bold shiraz and no-one is a greater proponent of the style than Chris Ringland, who refined his craft during 18 years as a winemaker at Rockford winery. In 1994, Ringland purchased his own property in the Barossa Ranges, the Stone Chimney Creek Road vineyard. With fruit from its century-old vines, he produced a wine praised by influential American wine critic Robert M. Parker Jr as “arguably the greatest shiraz made in Australia”, and turned the world’s attention to the Barossa.
The phrase “Australian-bred fullblood Wagyu” was an oxymoron before David Blackmore made his vision a reality. In the late ’90s, from his farm in north-east Victoria, he was a pioneer of fullblood Wagyu breeding outside of Japan. Last year, Victor Churchill butcher in Sydney’s Woollahra sold a particularly fine cut of Blackmore Wagyu for $450 a kilogram, while Aria’s Matt Moran has said he’d have the premium beef as part of his “last meal” – high praise indeed.
Perigord Truffles of Tasmania
Australia is the fourth-biggest truffle grower in the world and that’s largely thanks to Duncan Garvey and Peter Cooper from Perigord Truffles of Tasmania. They established the company in 1992 but it wasn’t until seven years later that they harvested the first French black truffle grown in Australia. They’ve since expanded operations and are digging up “black gold” throughout the country.
Yellingbo Gold olive oil
A tree change for a lawyer, and salesmanship by his son, helped Yellingbo Gold take Manhattan. In 1999, Howard Meltzer planted 3000 olive trees on his property in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. Seven years later he pressed the first olives into oil. His son, Jeremy, had noticed there was no Australian olive oil in grocery stores in the US so he went doorknocking and convinced stockists to take his premium blend. Later, an article published in The New York Times called the olive oil “liquid gold”, Martha Stewart praised it on her show and now Neil Perry uses it at Rockpool.
Wasabi is so difficult to cultivate that dyed horseradish is often served in its place. Stephen and Karen Welsh spent more than a decade perfecting the art of growing authentic Japanese wasabi in Australia and now their company is the largest producer of fresh wasabi in the Southern Hemisphere. Their wasabi is exported around the world and used at dozens of top Australian restaurants, including Tetsuya’s in Sydney.