The Liquor Barons’ Panel Members
The Liquor Barons Panel taste up to 70+ wines every month from which the top wines are submitted and published in the quarterly On the Vine magazine. The Panel is made of wine industry professionals; writers, judges, store managers and owners, winemakers, importers and wine educators. Scroll down to read about all the members.
Rod has been involved in wine for 40 years and has been a wine educator for 35 years. He has written for a number of magazines including Scoop, WineState, West Coast, Menu, Spice and Cravings as well as newspapers in WA. He is the writer of On the Vine, a Liquor Barons publication. Rod has also been chief judge/judge at numerous wine shows including, Bridgetown Boutique, Geographe, Timbertowns and Wandering. He has won the Jack Mann medal for outstanding contribution to the WA wine industry. He loves wine and food, “a perfect marriage” he says.
Rod Properjohn tastes wine every week and as often as possible will attend trade or consumer tastings to keep up to date with the latest vintages. And meeting winemakers when he can.
The ‘go to’ wine for this winter: “Cabernet Sauvignon”
Favourite grape variety: “Riesling …. great quality, price, drinks well when young or aged, great with food.”
Next trip to a wine region: “I am keen to go to Champagne, it’s been a long time.”
Steve is well-known in the wine trade having worked at the famous John Coppins for 12 years after working as a bar manager in the city. Steve recently celebrated his 21st birthday earlier this year…this is the number of years Steve has been working at Swanbourne Cellars.
Steve is lucky to have the most important qualification in the wine trade, having attended the Rod Properjohn wine classes. Rod would have taught half the wine trade in Perth and is still teaching in some capacity. Steve is tasting new wines all the time, along with Stef. They both attend the big trade tastings in the city. With winemakers visiting the store every week, Steve is lucky to meet them and taste their latest wines, small parcels and vintages.
The ‘go to’ wine this winter: “Pinot or Grenache blends”
Favourite grape variety: “Albariño”
Next trip to a wine region: “Reckon it will be Tassie. I’ve never been to Tassie so I would like to do a Tassie road trip!”
Stef is the retail manager at Swanny Cellars. His wine trade life began with managing six independents for over 10 years before moving to Swanbourne Cellars in 2010. While in the trade, Stef studied all the courses provided at the Wine Education Centre including Wine Basics, Advanced Wine and WSET Level 2. Along with Steve, Stef is in charge of buying small and larger parcels of wine for the store.
It is important for Stef to keep his palate up to date so you’ll find him tasting wines every day, meeting winemakers weekly and attending some of the big trade tastings. During the week that he’s tasting on the panel, he and Steve will try about 50 wines. He has the chance to taste all new vintages, new wines in the store, plus anything that is a little “boutiquey.” He is also interested in trying and finding out about the latest international wines, small vineyards and parcels.
The ‘go to’ wine for this winter: “Rosso di Montepulciano.”
Favourite grape variety: “I’m enjoying Grenaches, love a Chianti and love a Barolo.”
Next trip to a wine region: “Somewhere in New Zealand.”
Jo has worked in the wine trade for over 15 years. Her roles have been with Wholesale sales. Starting with Evans & Tate, which then became Winesource, then Grape Expectations, (All Frank Tate) Jo then joined Red+White was Sales Manager for Mezzanine and now is representing WA for Melbourne based distributer Cellarhand. Jo has completed WSET Level 1 and Level 2.
Jo attends many trade or consumer tastings looking at wines; whether it be to look at new vintages or to benchmark against competitors. She attends winery events and regional tastings as well as tasting regularly on the panel.
The ‘go to’ wine for this winter: “I love Italian wines, especially from Piedmont (Vajra Langhe Nebbiolo). For something a little closer to home; a Yarra Valley Lily Pinot from Wantirna Estate, or the Yeringberg Cabernet.”
Favourite grape variety: “Both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. I love the diversity of both. The elegance, complexity purity and intrigue that both varieties can show. I prefer wines with lower acidity and alcohol.”
Next trip to a wine region: “Tasting Cava in the wine region of Penedès near Barcelona, I can’t wait!”
Anthony (‘Coops’) has been the store owner of Liquor Barons Mosman Park since November 2015 and has completed both the WSET Level 2 and Level 3. He has been tasting on the panel regularly for three years. A few years before that he had been invited to sit with the Panel as a supplier for Treasury Wine Estates (aka Penfolds, Wynns, Devils Lair). Coops keeps his palate up to date with tastings every few days, particularly at the moment with lots of vintages rolling out from all over the country, lots of new imports to get excited about too.
Coops tries to attend as many trade tastings in the city as possible where he has been able to try new and different wines from lively natural and low intervention wines through to superb and refined Geelong and Yarra Chardonnay and Pinot and so much in between. Coops has been lucky enough to catch up every week or two with different winemakers at home in Perth, plus visits to Victoria and South Australia this year.
The ‘go to’ wine for this winter: “Yangara 2015 McLaren Vale Shiraz – a $30 wine which seriously over delivers, excellence in vineyard knowledge and vine management combined with skilled technique and touch in the winery give a fine modern McLaren Shiraz, earthy without being mean, great balance and intensity, not jammy or fat in any way.”
Favourite grape variety:”It could be easy to say Pinot when asked this question, probably the most complex of varieties, but I have a big soft spot for The King, Cabernet Sauvignon. I have been lucky enough to see great Cabernet wines going back to the 1950’s which have been in such good condition and have given such pleasure in their delicate structure, lingering hints of red or black fruits from youth then into classic tobacco and leather aged characteristics… When I see brilliant young Cabernet, my mind goes to what potential could be unlocked over time.”
Michael was interested in wine initially as a hobby and feels fortunate for to be able to now work in the trade. He has had experience of working both as a wholesaler and retailer; more recently at Liquor Barons Claremont. Michael has been tasting with the Liquor Barons Panel for almost 12 years. The panel is a great platform from which to learn from new and experienced panel members. For Michael, the greatest satisfaction of the Panel’s work is when a wine they have chosen for their top 24, in the Liquor Barons On the Vine Editions, later goes on to receive wine show awards or further acclaim from the wine industry.
Go to wine: “Reds from the Southern Rhone, not too heavy and great for while you are watching the Tour de France.”
Favourite grape:” – Pinot Noir – Larry Cherubino was right when he named his Pinot – Cruel Mistress – finding the good ones can be hard work.”
Next trip to a wine region: “I am still dreaming about Spain.”
Blair has worked in the wine trade for 18 years. His roles to date include BDM for Wine Industry Association of WA, Marketing and Sales for a number of WA producers including Fogarty Wine Group and Aravina Estate, Educator for Wines of WA courses and WSET Level 2 and Level 3, wine judge at a number of regional wine shows including Geographe and Swan Valley as well as a wine commentator on ABC 720 and 6PR.
Blair is now a Consultant to a number of boutique wine producers in WA, a Director of a French and Italian wine importer as well as Facilitator of Wine Education Centre. Blair has completed the WSET Diploma and a Grad Dip Marketing (Wine Business).
Blair keeps his palate up to date by attending trade shows, wine show trade days and new release tastings.
The ‘go to’ wine for this winter: “Jaffelin Bourgogne Pinot Noir or any Chablis!”
Favourite grape variety: “Riesling for its elegance, purity and balance and Chardonnay for its richness, depth of flavour and acidity – love Chablis.”
Next trip to a wine region: “No plans to a vineyard region other than locally, Margaret River and Gt Southern but may be in the Yarra Valley and Tasmania in coming months for potential new clients. Burgundy and Piemonte on the wish list!!”
Grattan has been involved in the wine industry for around 8 years. During this time, he has been involved in each stage of the wine making and selling process from vineyard hand, cellar hand, lab technician, winemaker, bottling line operator, cellar door salesman, regional sales representative, restaurant manager, wine bar venue manager and retail manager. Currently Grattan is Store Manager at Liquor Barons Herdsman.
Grattan has completed the WSET Level 3 as well as a Bachelor of Science Multidisciplinary Science (Viticulture & Oenology).
Grattan tries to attend as many tastings as possible as well as keeping up to date with the latest vintages via tastings with the winery representatives.
The ‘go to’ wine for this winter: “St Johns Road – LSD”
Favourite grape variety: “Riesling because it has a humanistic lifeline or journey. When young it is vibrant and playful ready to take on the world with vibrancy and determination. A middle aged Riesling is more subdued, restrained yet sophisticated with an underlining determination to hold onto its youth as best it can even if it’s starting to look a little flabby. Reaching its twilight years it starts to softly fade away with grace. Fortuitist aromatic notes are accompanied by a complex palate that rightfully demands respect. Yes Riesling is my favourite, because Riesling lives.”
Next trip to a wine region: “To LS Merchants Vineyards.”
Next trip to a wine region: “Tasmania! I am mad for Sparkling, still Chardonnays & Pinots….”
Anthony started working in the wine trade over 20 years ago. He studied winemaking at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga via distance education and was a winemaker for Palandri (9 years) and for Cowaramup Wines (14 years). Anthony has been working in retail for 7 years as the main owner at Liquor Barons Dalkeith. He now divides his time at Swanbourne Cellars and distilling at Old Young’s distillery in Swan Valley.
Anthony has travelled extensively; working vintages in Margaret River, Beaujolais & Languedoc in France and Rheinhessen in Germany.
Anthony tastes weekly and attends trade tastings as much as possible to keep his palate up to date and to support the wholesalers when they put trade tastings on. His latest trade tastings include Domain Wine Shippers, Epicure and Tirage and the latest Champagne tasting.
‘Go to’ wine this winter? “Gibson ‘Dirtman’ Shiraz. Big, soft and Juicy. Great winter warmer.”
Favourite grape variety? “I do not have a favourite grape variety as I enjoy tasting all styles of wine regularly. I think the best value out there is with Riesling because of the quality available against the price you need to pay.”
Next trip to a wine region: “Mum and Dad’s in Margaret River, Cowaramup Wines. And I would love to get to the Napa or over to Italy. Whilst I have travelled through Italy it was prior to me being in the wine industry and did not get to explore the major wine regions but would love to go back to Tuscany and Piedmont to do some extensive tastings. Additionally I have not been to the West Coast of USA and would love to get to Napa, Sonoma and Oregon.”
Terry has been tasting on the Panel for almost one year. Before he worked in the wine trade, he ran his own business as a marine mechanic and engineer. Before that he was a commercial diver so you could say he has had a very varied and interesting past!
Terry is the owner and manager of Liquor Barons Herdsman. Since joining the wine trade just over a year ago, Terry has studied the WSET Level 1. In addition to this, he regularly attends wine trade events, offers staff training and tastes on the Panel to keep his palate up to date.
‘Go to’ wine this winter: “Really impressed with the Dukes SV Shiraz! I’ve really starting to enjoy the taste profile of Shiraz from the great southern region.”
Favourite grape variety: “Historically it has been Shiraz but I’m beginning to gain an appreciation for a large collection of white varieties such as Vermentino, Pinot Grigio, Fianos and aged Semillion.”
Next trip to a wine region: “Barossa next month for a few days!”
The Spring edition of On the Vine is out in stores from 1st September. Drop into the store to pick up your copy!