Wandering to Perth, Western Australia! American Working in the Australian Wine Industry

Wandering to Perth, Western Australia! American Working in the Australian Wine Industry

I must really be taking this whole “wander” for wine thing seriously. Yesterday I wandered (with a job & visa) to one of the furthest wine destinations from my home. Say hello to Perth’s newest expat!! Australia is not all shiraz and sunshine! Western Australia is the home of some of the most noteworthy and consistent maritime climates in the world for wine. Vineyards in Margaret River, about three hours south of Perth on the southwestern coast represent the largest winemaking region in WA. Producing Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and other classic Australian varietals.

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Source: The Western Australian

After graduating from UC Davis with a degree in Viticulture & Enology, I had explored aspects of the wine industry that allowed me to chisel my own marble sculpture of a career that I ideally wanted. While loving the technical and hands on aspect of heading into the cellar, I found that my interests and passions in the industry were more focused on the marketing and business development side. If you can’t tell by now, I love wine. But what I love more is the experience that wine creates across generations and continents. It’s the universal language that can be easily understood and enjoyed without a translator. The experience that the wine industry provides for it’s consumers creates an achievable life of luxury with every bottle.

I started to explore jobs in California and New York within the business side of the industry. What I found was different strong holds in both regions.

New York: Small concentration of production, massive distribution and import job opportunities, many sales jobs in Manhattan.

Los Angeles: Large quantity of production jobs, sales jobs with large wine distributors and many wine service jobs.

I was applying and interviewing and found that I was turning down opportunities because they didn’t feel like the stepping stone I was looking for. So I looked further (apparently as far as possible).

I’ve been in LOVE with Vasse Felix in Margaret River ever since I started my education in wine. They embody traditional winemaking while targeting a global audience. With impeccable marketing strategy, a vineyard in one of the most beautiful places on earth and an international mindset, they have pioneered a small part of the world into the hearts and cellars of wine drinkers around the world. They are sharing wine paradise with the world, and I AM SOLD.

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Vasse Felix Estate. Source: Winedering

Starting November 1st (ha yes, the one tomorrow) I will be starting a six month internship in the Sales and Marketing department of Vasse Felix based in Perth, WA. It’s not common for companies in Australia to offer internships, but based on the visa options, it works out the best for this position. The work holiday visa only allows you to work for the same company for 6 months of the 12 month visa. Extending your visa includes farm work or company sponsorship.

Vasse Felix was not hiring or looking for a UCD grad living in Los Angeles, but I bought Linkedin premium and started reaching out to the company in February. I wasn’t (consciously) looking for a job, but I wanted to understand the company and get advice on how to navigate the business side of wine. It took about six months to finalize an offer and LOTS of follow up emails, but I knew from the first Skype call that I wanted Vasse Felix to be the Mr. Miagi of my Karate Kid career.

Lesson? Sometimes looking for a job is extremely daunting and seeing that you are 1 applicant among 49 on Linkedin doesn’t feel promising. How I’ve found the most important career stepping stones has actually been dissecting the process and finding the company first. Find a company that excites you and creates a brand/strategy that embodies the way you visualize success. The wine industry is different, I have found extremely helpful and kind people who want to give me advice and referrals. But I would never have bought my one way ticket to Perth if I hadn’t bought Linkedin Premium (since canceled because my god it’s expensive!!!) and decided to put myself out there. 

I’ve been drinking my fair share of California & Washington wines in order to get my fix before the move. No Trader Joe’s deals for six months, I’ll survive right?

After doing all of this research and the information I have learned through networking, working in the wine industry is a huge draw for US Citizens moving to Australia. If you are looking for a harvest or cellar job, I would recommend looking at these websites, Wine Jobs Australia, Wine Industry Jobs, Wine Jobs, and more!! But the best way to get connected is through the people who have already worked or done harvest there. The wine community in Australia is hired almost predominately through word of mouth or referrals. Keep your friends close and your harvest coworkers closer, because they may just know someone from Oz.

I’m absolutely terrified but there is nothing I wanted more than to work for this company and explore the world. Ask and you shall receive apparently. Stay tuned for my big move DOWN UNDER!!! Cue Men at Work.

Cheers and Happy Sipping!

The Happiest Hour

The Happiest Hour

Money can’t buy happiness but it can buy drinks at Happy Hour. We all want to be happy and we all want drink discounts, right? That’s where we get the beautiful creation of happy hour. I’ve drank at my fair share of happy hour’s across the West Coast and it’s about time I created a Master List of my favorite HH in Seattle (more locations to come!!)  While this is specific to a killer wine list on the happy hour menu, these places usually have great cocktails and appetizers no matter what your drink of choice is.

Seattle, Washington

Barolo Ristorante

Downtown Seattle

This chic and tastefully elegant Italian restaurant is one of the Seattle greats. With glistening chandeliers, an outstanding wine list and out of this world pasta and meat dishes. Make a reservation for dinner and enjoy an incredible meal from start to finish. But what is even better is their Happy Hour. My favorite dishes on the bar menu include and ARE NOT limited to: Grilled pacific calamari, Rigatoni pasta with beef and veal ragú and the baked escargot (TO DIE FOR).

HH

Monday-Saturday: 3:00-6:30pm and 10pm-midnight

Sunday: All day starting at 3pm

50% off the bar menu
$5.75 glass select white, red, and rose’
$20 bottle of white, red, and rose’
$5.00 draft beer

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Source: Barolo

Purple Café & Wine Bar 

Downtown Seattle, Bellevue or Woodinville

“Where a global wine list meets seasonal Northwest ingredients” WOW. Talk about my kind of place. Purple is a industrial dream, with impressive metal work in all locations highlighting the dark and mysterious ambiance. With a never ending hand selected wine list that feels like a well written novel paired with exquisite and perfectly prepared dishes. Don’t you dare leave without trying the sea salt caramels. They taste like true love. What else to try: Warm baked brie, Crispy lemon-chile calamari and I usually always try the Washington wine featured on the menu. Currently: Lu & Oly Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, WA.

HH

Daily 2-5pm

Happy Hour menu includes $7.50 glass of featured wine or 40% off listed price of the featured wines by the bottle

Cocktails, Beer & Snacks also listed on HH menu

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Source: OpenTable

Stoneburner

Ballard

Located within Hotel Ballard, Stoneburner has an everlasting sophistication that feels like you landed in the perfect era during a trip through time. With a corner of the restaurant showcasing walls of the incredible wine collection opposite the art deco and classic full service bar. It’s a gem within the urban and artsy streets of Ballard. With a stone hearth focused kitchen, the small plates are served family style for the table. This would be a place to start with wine and finish the night with a masterpiece cocktail. Must try: CRISPY CASTELVETRANO OLIVES stuffed with mozzarella (not on HH menu but WORTH IT), classic pepperoni pizza and the Asti Fizz.

HH

Daily from 3-5pm

Happy hour menu includes salads, pizza, cocktails and WINE FLASKS 500ml flask of white/red/rosé for $10.

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Source: Stoneburner

The Walrus & The Carpenter

Ballard

One of my favorites. My heart feels so full with the incredible memories I have from this place. They are known for their oysters (YUM) and seafood. They are an enchanting and eclectic spot in Ballard that provides an oasis in the city for sea lovers and wine lovers alike! The interior design is warm and incredibly darling. As Total Happy Hour describes, “The Walrus and the Carpenter blends the elegance of France with the casual comfort of a local fishing pub.” With a hand selected and unique wine list that pairs perfectly with the sea fare, this is the perfect place to spend your evening.

HH

Oyster Happy Hour Monday-Thursday 4-6pm

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Source: The Walrus and The Carpenter

Of course, there are many more incredible places for HH in Seattle, but these places have my heart and will forever be in my brain bank of some of my favorite places in my hometown. What is your favorite place for HH in Seattle?

Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy drinks at Happy Hour (1)

Happy sipping!

Napa? Never heard of her

Napa? Never heard of her

Have you ever heard of a place with endless vineyards, hot air balloons and tons of grapes that sell for some of the highest prices in California? Surely you have never heard of such a place!

NOT.

Napa oh, Napa. The crown jewel of California wine country. A little bit North of Napa is Calistoga, home of Chateau Montelena from Bottleshock, Chris Pine playing Bo Barrett is on my list of top 10 favorite casting decisions. Napa is the birthplace of California Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Think BIG, BOLD and OAKY. Napa, California has over 400 wineries and counting. But with so many choices, how do choose?! While I have not been to all 400 wineries (that would be concerning), I do have a few favorites and classics that are a must see! Taste a little, explore a little and eat a lot. Enjoy!

Ashes & Diamonds

If you follow me on Instagram you know about my love affair with Ashes & Diamonds. We are talking LOVE AFFAIR. With an art deco, Palm Springs-esque tasting room right off St Helena highway. Yellow doors, incredible natural light and an open air winery that you can walk through. They have homemade foccacia bread served with salted butter and a tasting menu that navigates you through the different varietals that they have at the winery. The A&D Cabernet Franc is my favorite. Cab Franc is a spicy, flirty and smooth parent varietal of Cabernet Sauvignon. Reserve a tasting and consider joining the wine club! They have incredible events that take place at the tasting room that you won’t want to miss.

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Processed with VSCO with av4 preset

51EA171D-A357-4581-AE8F-1F4E30C54EB9.JPGP.S. I am a SUCKER for good glassware. A&D wine glasses have been some of the most impressive in Napa! Make sure to take a second and admire the little things!

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Restoration Hardware – Wine Vault

Yountville, I love you. Yountville is quite possibly one of my favorite areas in the Napa Valley. With some of Northern California’s most impeccable culinary scenes, the tasting rooms step up to the plate. My favorite tasting room/wine bar in Napa is the Restoration Hardware Wine Vault. As an interior design and furniture company, RH has revolutionized “good taste” and developed a such a pristine vision on what beauty is. The wine vault that is in a historic ma(i)sonry building and right next door to the RH restaurant that embodies luxury and elegance. With a wine menu consisting of a variety of winemakers and vineyards around the area, this tasting room represents many different facets of the wine culture in the area. The variety allows for the wine taster to explore their palette. Make a reservation and ENJOY!

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The Hess Collection Winery

Oh, an art museum AND tasting room? What more could you want. Housed in a modern and reconstructed barn, the Hess Collection wines are from elevated vineyards on Mount Vedeer in the Napa Valley. When founding the winery, Donald Hess curated his own art collection and showcases it to the visitors trying the historic and iconic California wines. Reserve your tasting and be sure to see all three floors of the collection. His eclectic art and traditional winemaking processes mark one of my favorite wineries in Northern California. 8F3E81CD-D500-46C7-BE4B-C4542D9E939E.JPG

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What are your favorite tasting rooms in Napa? Comment them below!

Wine & Watch

Wine & Watch

Step 1. Get a bottle of wine

Step 2. Pick a movie to watch

Step 3. Repeat next week

HIP HIP HOORAY! Week 2 of Wine & Watch. Pairing movies with a glass (or bottle) of wine. This particular pairing was limited because ArcLight theaters in Hollywood only had two options, but two is better than none. I was such a fan of the movie this week that I needed it to be the next Wine & Watch. Nothing, and I MEAN NOTHING is better than wine served at a movie theater. Simple but unheard of in a lot of places. Who doesn’t want to lounge in the overly comfy, Lay-Z-Boy esque chair in a completely dark room watching a great movie with a glass of wine. Sounds more relaxing than hearing the radios from the cars sitting in traffic outside my Los Feliz apartment drinking a barely chilled bottle of rosé. I could argue you this for hours, but end of story – if you are going to go see a movie, make sure they serve wine.

Movie of choice: Crazy Rich Asians

W O W. This movie completely rocked my world. It’s hilarious, extravagant and extremely well done. I will not lie, I love love love a good romance. But I also can appreciate the depths this movie ventured to in order to candidly show this wealthy lifestyle seen commonly in Asia. Singapore looks like a dream and they did a spectacular job with filming and music. The soundtrack made you feel the extravagance in your bones. Go. See. It. Trust me, you do not know “well off” until you take a trip to the Young’s family estate in Singapore and Astrid’s 1.5 mill pair of earrings.. Dreamy.

Also – Rachel & Nick (the main couple) are wonderful actors and have a ton of chemistry. Casting was very well done! My favorite character, hands down, is Goh Peik Lin. She absolutely killed it. Delivery, improv, everything was extremely well done. Fav fav fav

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Source: Chicago Tribune

I will be buying the next ticket from LAX-Singapore, BYE!

I have yes to read the book series, written by Kevin Kwan. But after loving the movie I will probably HAVE to read the books. It’s rare that I like a movie more than the novel, but this might be an exception. Let’s just say the budget did not seem TIGHT on this doozy of a film.

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Source: Accessories Magazine

Wine of choice (of the two): Cabernet Sauvignon 

This is not to say they only offer two wines in the ArcLight cafe, the wine list is below. Pretty typical selection. But at the popcorn kiosks, they only had two options and I was running right on time and had no intention of skipping the previews dining in the cafe. Between the Chardonnay and Cab, I went with red. Movie theaters are cold and doesn’t a Cab just fit the bit?

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Source: ArcLight Hollywood

A Cabernet Sauvignon is bold. Just like this movie. You can feel the warmth of a good California Cab from the moment it hits your tongue to even after swallowing. They are hearty, powerful and distinct wines that carry a bit of California sunshine as artillery.  It was a $12 glass of wine in a plastic cup, so do not be fooled, it was nothing glamorous. But it was a lovely sipper during a great film.

This Wine & Watch was a bit off kilter, but here’s a reason to go out and see a movie! Have a date night or enjoy it by yourself (like I did) and have a relationship with your glass of Cab! I love movies, I love wine and I think pairing them together is quite possibly my favorite combination. This movie was heartwarming, hilarious and transcended traditional Hollywood in many ways. A big bold badass wine paired very nicely. I will most likely be seeing the movie again, but if you haven’t seen it yet: THERE IS A SHOWTIME NEAR YOU I PINKIE PROMISE. Enjoy your Thursday, I am currently grabbing my passport and getting a one way ticket to Singapore.

 

LA LA Land

LA LA Land

Los Angeles, California. Boy oh boy do I love this city. On the western seaboard of the United States is a sunny, trendy and delicious destination. You’ve probably been, but if you haven’t it is a wonderful and packed place to go. The “industry” here in Los Angeles is the entertainment industry. But the wine ‘industry’ is also prominent. Wine is mostly consumed here in Los Angeles, but if you can believe it, vineyards are popping up all around town. Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Malibu and more have started planting and bottling wine from households backyards or massive estates.

But today let’s talk wine bars. YES. YUM. Heaven is a place on earth at a good wine bar. Typically wine bars only serve… wine. So don’t expect a vodka cran. If you are expecting to have an easy time choosing one off your google maps, think again, there are a lot to choose from. I’ve ‘tasted and traveled’ (using the bio for something) through Los Angeles to map out the best wine bars and tasting rooms in the LA county and not in any particular order. Enjoy!!

  • Bar Covell

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Source: Urban Daddy

Los Feliz, CA

Mood lighting, NO wine list, beer on tap to drag along your friends who aren’t vinos (YET). The bartenders are educated on the wines carried at Bar Covell. They take your preferences and connect you to the wines they think will be right up your alley. Trying new wines is the key to keeping this industry growing and experimenting. You can order your classic Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon, but these bartenders can also lead you in a direction to try a different producers or varietal. You are expanding your palette and getting a brief education on the wines you are drinking. 

http://www.barcovell.com

  • Rosenthal Tasting Room & Patio

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Source: Rosenthal – The Malibu Estate

Malibu, CA

Maybe I am slightly obsessed because I work here. But hear me out. This might be one of the best outdoor wine venues in the greater Los Angeles area. Right off PCH, across the street from Topanga beach, live music on the weekends and wine flights? One of their labels is 100% grown in Malibu (yes, you can grow grapes in Malibu and YES it’s good!). Food trucks on the weekend, live bands and endless wine create an atmosphere that is difficult to leave!

https://rosenthalestatewines.com/

  • SIP Malibu Grapes

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Source: SIP Malibu Grapes

Malibu, CA

Still in Malibu, SIP will be located through the canyon. This rustic and eclectic tasting room also offers wine flights, tastings and an outdoor space that they call “the backyard,” which truly feels like a comfortable backyard of a home. A different vibe for this place, relaxing and quiet as it is off the beaten path of Pacific Coast Highway. This tasting room has a selection of Malibu boutique vineyards and is not only limited to just one label. The perfect place for a wine tasting tour through Malibu canyons.

http://www.sipmalibugrapes.com/

  • Augustine Wine Bar

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Source: Eater LA

Sherman Oaks, CA

The valley. The valley has seeded quite possibly one of the chicest and most inviting wine bars in Los Angeles. But what do you know, the owner and genius behind Bar Covell (see above) he also happens to be the owner of this magical venue. This endeavor also happened to be with Matthew Kaner, Matthew is a spectacular sommelier and the president of Will Travel for Wine, INC. With this wine bar, these involved, creative and wine centric owners created an atmosphere that is unmatched. From Australia to Napa and around the world in 80 days, this wine list has the best of the best. Another plus: a mouth watering food menu, think ragu, charcuterie and cauliflower CHEDDAR soup. Wow is right.

I could go on and on with a list of wine bars in the Los Angeles area, and I plan to. But here is a part 1 of my LA LA Land wine bar debut. Follow along and stay updated with new posts about these dreamsicle businesses in Los Angeles.

What is your favorite wine bar in LA?

Roman ‘za

Roman ‘za

Roman style pizza, holy yum. Triple beam is a new and groundbreaking pizza joint in Highland Park, east of the 5 freeway. The way this pizza place works is you show with your hands how much you want and you can try as many of the pizza’s they have. This establishment has a wine shop, Highland Park Wine, a restaurant and bar, Hippo, and Triple Beam, the pizza place.

Hippo, which just opened around last week to the public showcases fresh and creative dishes for a casual yet lively dining experience.

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  • The wine list: VERY good. From Sherry on tap (my dream come true) to orange wine. With a showcase of wines from around the world, you feel more inclined to experiment. The incredible staff behind the bar are also A++ with suggestions for pairing.
  • The Sherry is “Aurora” from Bodegas Yuste Manzanilla, the MV next to Sherry on a menu stands for Multi Vintage, which can be explained by the mixing of vintages in the Sherry process.
  • Don’t forget – Sherry is sold and served in smaller bottles and pours. 750ml bottles and 3 oz pours.
  • In case you missed my previous post on Sherry, learn more about it here.

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The entire building was bought by the owners of Silverlake Wine (my second home apparently), therefore the wine selections are spectacular. The wines at Triple Beam are changing constantly but are all natural wines. There is something extremely enchanting about a lavish looking slice of heirloom tomato pizza, a rosé from Spain and an outdoor patio with twinkling lights and a warm atmosphere.

  • Triple Beam also offer $20 bottle specials for a showcased wine. THIS IS IMPORTANT. This is not only inexpensive for the incredible bottle and producer, but it’s a great way for new producers and unseen labels to be showcased with incentive.
    • The $20 bottle yesterday was a 2016 Garnacha Rosado, “Lechuza” from Spain. Served at the perfect chilled temperature, a task that some restaurants fail to do accurately. A dry wine with a berry, honeysuckle flavor and a fresh, lemon and floral aroma.
    • Paired perfectly with: one slice of pepperoni pizza, one slice of sausage pizza and one slice of heirloom tomato pizza. Delicious.

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Have you been to these Highland Park game changers? If not, GO. Word is spreading and popularity is growing. Enjoy!!