The Sideways “effect” clearly had no impact on Australia’s Dave Bicknell. The acclaimed winemaker from the Yarra Valley and his award winning Oakridge Wines claims to have never seen Hollywood’s iconic homage to Pinot Noir. He is too busy working and making his style of Pinot Noir which he will be sharing at next week’s first Pinot Noir Alliance event in London.
Dave Bicknell is one of Australia’s most respected winemakers full stop. But it is with Pinot Noir that the current Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year has really made his name with his Oakridge Wines in the Yarra Valley.
Why do you love working with Pinot Noir so much?
It found me. I had no idea about it to be honest. I was sucked into its enigmatic cult, and just followed the flow, and this is where it took me.
That’s not good enough. Go on sum up the appeal of Pinot Noir in three words…
Sexy M****** F*****. Fragrant, ethereal, transforming might be more PC!
That’s more like it. If you could make Pinot Noir wines anywhere else in the world, where would you choose?
I have worked with a number of other mainland-Australian regions with Pinot, as well as Burgundy, but I think I would settle for Tasmania. I’m all for the future not the past.
What’s your ideal food match for your style of Pinot Noir?
Peking Duck. The fragrance and the fat.
How often do people mention the film Sideways to you?
Never. Ever. I still haven’t seen Star Wars, so I wouldn’t really know what they were talking about anyway.
If you weren’t involved in wine, what would you do (what was Plan B?)
Once upon a time I was going to study to become a MICA ambulance officer, save the lives of the critically injured and unwell. You could argue that by making wine, I now destroy them for a living by giving them drink. Gone to the dark side. To answer the question, I can only see myself farming food – fruit, vegetables, herbs. I like the idea of growing wasabi, with zero clues on how to do it.
What do you hope the audience get out of The Pinot Noir Alliance?
On the surface -iInspiration, delight, pleasure, fun. The things you get from drinking Pinot.
Going deeper – That there is an understanding of ‘place’, and it isn’t just one place. Being different and forging a unique identity is important.
* Dave Bicknell will be appearing at the first Pinot Noir Alliance event in London on October 9. The event, the brainchild of Cono Sur winemaker Adolfo Hurtado, brings together five likeminded Pinot ‘passionistas’ to talk about the challenges and rewards of cultivating it. This debut event is now a sell-out, but you can keep up to date with future events at firstname.lastname@example.org.