Name: Scott Richardson
Position: Retail & Events Coordinator
Can you explain how you got into the wine industry? Funnily enough I never intended to work within the wine industry, my life just happened that way. Growing up in the local area, my first job out of school was working a night shift vintage at Tyrrell’s in 1988. From there, I travelled to the States to work in a summer camp and contracted the travelling bug. I worked a series of vintages both at Tyrrell’s and in France, more to fund my next trip than out of any cohesive plan to advance my career within the wine industry. After a couple of years I went to South Australia and studied Wine Science at Roseworthy Agricultural College, again more to appease my fathers' desire I had some kind of formal training behind me than any true desire to be a winemaker. After that I took all my hard earned knowledge and went to work in the Northern Territory. Not so famous for their wine, I took a series of jobs from building pools and spas to labouring on gold mines, the worst was sandblasting and spray painting fishing trawlers in the build up to the wet season. From there, I worked my way down to Perth, had another stint mining, this time right out in the middle of WA, then did some more overseas travel. I returned to the Hunter when I was about 29 and have managed to remain here ever since.
What do you love most about your job? I joke about being able to take my work home with me, but it is probably dealing with the people that walk through our Cellar Door that I enjoy the most
Which Tyrrell’s wine do you always encourage customers to try and why? I try to get them to taste something they have little experience of or believe they do not like. Just like my kids, customers are not allowed to dislike something until they have tasted it at least 10 times! I'm also a big fan of chardonnay (Vat 47, Belford, HVD or Moon Mountain Chardonnay - all top wines) and many people seem adverse to trying what is probably the greatest white wine variety on the planet.
What has been your more interesting wine experience? It is a bit clichéd, and certainly not interesting to anyone else but myself, but eating with a French family and their workers during a vintage in Bordeaux where we sat around a kitchen table passing around bread and drinking watered house wine out of tumblers during the daily two hour lunch break made a great impression on me. These people were seriously old school - they loved wine deeply but were not in awe of it nor one bit pretentious. There is certainly something to be said for established family wine businesses.
What is your favourite food and wine combination? If you are offering to cook for me then simple things, picnic type foods. When people tend to go over the top with their largess, things get confusing and I can’t seem to appreciate what I am eating. My idea with food and wine is to buy quality produce and savor it. Good crusty bread still warm and dripping with butter or olive oil and salt will go with any wine.
Dry white wines with cold roast chicken, cooked shelled prawns, freshly shucked oysters, or smoked salmon (not all on the same plate just pick the one thing and do it well). Accompanied with the aforementioned bread.
Red wines - pick a good cut of meat, cook it properly, and have just one or two seasonal veggie. And please err on the side of caution with the red wines you serve with food, invariably lighter more structured wines (European styles) make better food matches, save your big heavy reds for cheese. The idea is to be able to taste the food you’re eating; a monstrous 15%+ Alc red from a warm climate wine will dominate even the richest of meats.
A piece of cheese at the end of the meal is perfect, with maybe some of that crusty bread if you have enough (you may notice I like bread). Don’t go for everything in the window of the cheese shop, that says you’re not confident with your choice, just choose the one style but pick a good one. Follow this with some fresh seasonal fruit and a sparkling wine, and then by a bit of a walk around and some more sparkling wine. Later after the dishes are done is the time to bring out the sweet things. That’s the kind of way I best enjoy food and wine.
P.S. For the younger readership out there, a good lunch beats a dinner party hands down. If you do it right! If you can take a deep breath and turn off the phone or better still leave it in the car, if you can space out the food and engage in face to face conversation, a good lunch will turn into dinner and an early night with no ill effects for the following day.
If you could invite any 5 people (dead or alive) to dinner, who would they be, and what would you serve? I suppose the usual famous figures from history but not in any order and I am picking only men because my wife may at some point may read this and she is naturally the most interesting woman alive or dead on the planet (just in case she's reading this!)
Genghis Khan – Built the biggest empire the world had ever seen, conning Asia, the Middle East and Europe He would not be afraid to offer his honest opinion during a conversation regardless of whether the topic was considered dangerous or not. In addition, he would have the definitive “last time I was in China” story, gazumping any late comer wannabes.
Muhammad Ali – Boxer philanthropist and social activist. Intelligent, funny and with a great turn of phase, I am big enough to admit to a bit of a man crush on him, if you have Y chromosome in your body you know what I’m talking about, if you don’t YouTube the “Thrilla in Manila” fight. He would also come in handy if Genghis starts to get a bit noisy later on
Isaac Newton - Father of modern science, master of the mint and a very smart man. He gets an invite, because quite simply, he is the god of nerds. I want to start this dinner with an impromptu game of laser tag and I reckon Isaac would be right into it. Seriously, it would be the perfect ice-breaker for a dinner party and as long as you have a smartphone you can play it anywhere...I hope he remembers to bring his smartphone.
Marco Polo - Earlier explorer, he crossed the entire known world without the aid of a Lonely Plant guide. Anyone that well travelled and can tell a good tale is always a good dinner companion. Also, I can exchange war stories with him about cheap bucket shop flights, extended unscheduled layovers and the severe shortage of leg space in the cattle class carriers.
Tom Waits – American singer-songwriter, composer and lyricist. Again, intelligent, funny and English speaking (well sort of). Reputed to take a drink on occasion, he can also play the piano. I am imagining us all, much later in the evening, glass in hand crowding around Tom at the piano (in my fantasy we actually own a piano) while we all belt out old Billy Joel covers.
Mahatma Gandhi - Father of modern India and the pioneer of civil disobedience against tyranny through non-violent resistance. I know I am only supposed to pick 5 but he was truly a great man. Also in any photos I have seen of him he always looks kindly, a little bit sad and very hungry – I will sit him between Genghis and Ali pour the wine and wait to see what happens.
I deliberately left Moses, Jesus, Mohamed, Buddha and Confucius off the list because I cannot stand it when the conversation gets bogged down over the same point.
When you’re not behind the counter at our Cellar Door, what can we find you doing? Running around after the kids, working in the garden, cooking/eating, restoring old furniture and reading zombie literature - I can thoroughly recommend World War Z. That is when I am not performing life saving surgery, busting international drug cartels or dabbling on the baccarat tables of Monaco.