Introducing, in her own words, Simone Madden-Gray as the 2018 AAVWS Fellow…
Alternative grape varieties are occupying a greater share of the national vineyard, creating an exciting contrast to the traditional Australian offering and the AAVWS Fellowship offers an essential insight into this next chapter of Australian wine history. In my role as owner of Happy Wine Woman, a Melbourne-based consultancy, communication and education form a core part of my work in helping people understand and connect with wines of the world but primarily those from Australia and my home country, New Zealand.
As the AAVWS Fellow I will advocate for these wines and influence buying decisions in the domestic and international markets through publication, broadcast and education. I frequently engage with a global audience as the Australia and New Zealand correspondent for the highly rated U.S. podcast, Wine for Normal People. In each episode my goal is to increase understanding and awareness of the diversity and quality of wine from Australia. Additionally, I write for a range of publications such as Gourmet Traveller WINE, Halliday Magazine, The Drinks
Business, Wine Spectator and Spirito di Vino Asia, which provides an important avenue to promote key developments within the industry to a broad audience. This would also provide a platform for me to increase
awareness of the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show and its work.
I am a WSET Diploma holder and Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Competition Scholarship recipient and I regularly teach wine appreciation and WSET classes to a significant number of wine industry professionals and consumers. In this forum we discuss current developments in the local industry and evolution in wine styles as well as introducing new grape varieties to potential wine buyers, servers and consumers.
Further to my work as a communicator and educator, and offering additional opportunities to function as an ambassador for the AAVWS, I am also involved in the Melbourne wine community including Wine Communicators Australia and the Australian Women in Wine Melbourne Chapter, as well as running a regular tasting group with Melbourne-based industry peers.
In summary, I believe that alternative grape varieties represent an innovative and intelligent response to climate challenges faced by the Australian industry. Communication and education play key roles in the promotion and development of this category and I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in supporting those activities as the AAVWS Fellow.