Wine Trail by Tim Pelquest-Hunt

Tim Pelquest-Hunt, a winemaker at Pernod Ricard's iconic Australian brand Jacob's Creek is as crazy about travel as he is about grapes. This globetrotter tells Nausheen Tareen how travel has shaped his wine making career...

Where was your last vacation? 

I returned from Sri Lanka about six weeks ago after attending a friend’s wedding. It was so fantastically different to an Australian wedding. The colours and music made it. After the nuptials, I travelled all around the island for a fortnight. It was a truly amazing experience. Sri Lanka wasn’t really somewhere that was on the radar for me to travel and it exceeded all of my expectations.

"The landscape and topography of Sri Lanka is awe-inspiring with jungles, beaches, mountains, desserts and wet-lands. If you love seafood, it’s a cuisine Mecca."
I also love cricket, so I managed to sneak a day at a test match to watch the magic of Sri Lankan spin bowling up close and personal. I will definitely go back and have recommended it to all my friends.
Journey to Sri Lanka

I changed three flights to reach Sri Lanka. I travelled from Adelaide to Melbourne, Melbourne to Singapore and finally from Singapore to Colombo. Depending on flight choices, it can take anywhere from 17 to 30 hours to get to Sri Lanka. The advantage of this though is it is just far enough away for Australians that they might see it as too much effort and time to get there. 

Honestly, it’s worth the extra effort to get there.

Tim at Barossa Valley cellar

"Sri Lanka is excellent if you want to avoid the drove of Australian tourists in places like Bali and Thailand."

Vacation That Truly Inspired the Winemaker in You

In 2011, I skipped over to Germany for four months to oversee the vintage/harvest in the wine region of Rheinhessen. I was to supervise five 50-plus years old male German cellar-hands, who spoke only Rheinhessen German. As you can imagine, they were not initially too responsive to a 20-something years old Australian winemaker with broken high German. I was essentially encroaching on their turf. Although I was initially met with harsh resistance, as my German improved, we bonded, and collectively made some stunning wines. To date, this has been my single biggest wine making achievement. 

"The experience  in the wine region of Rheinhessen, Germany vastly improved my interpersonal skills, and made me realise the type of winemaker I wanted to be — one that was friendly, relatable and easy to work with." 

I left there with some very good friends and memories.

Quick Bites:

Fave Wine: Jacob's Creek Steingarten Riesling
Fave Dish: Sushi and Sashimi 
Biggest Wine Myth: All Rieslings are sweet and out of fashion

Fondest Food and Wine Memory

When I was making sparkling wine at Mumm Napa (Napa Valley, US) one of the winemakers there took me to a restaurant in Yountville, and insisted I had to try the Mumm Napa Blanc de Blanc with chicken liver toast. 
"Matching wine and offal can be one of the more challenging food and wine pairings. This was a match made in heaven." 
The acidity of the blanc de blanc cut through the texture of the liver beautifully. The slightly charred toast worked fantastically with the nutty freshness of the wine’s finish. The creaminess of the wine paired wonderfully with the richness of the dish. I could go on and on… I still dream about it.

Most inspirational wine destination
Germany’s Rheingau wine region is amazing. It’s perched on the east-west running portion of the Rhein river, straddled by terraced vineyards that almost defy gravity, steeped in centuries of history, and one of the homes of Riesling. It still retains its quaint and rustic feel.

"Rheingau possesses a CV that many a wine region would envy. Definitely try the traditional Zwiebelkuchen (a savoury onion tart) with a crisp Rheingau Riesling." 

Aside from the wine and food, soak up the undulating terrain, beautiful fauna, spectacular views, and glamorous and ancient buildings.
Your home — Barossa
"After chasing the weather around the world with winemaking, I decided to make the Barossa Valley my home and take up a winemaker’s role at Jacob’s Creek." 

"The Barossa is arguably Australia’s most iconic wine region, with Jacob’s Creek being one of Australia’s leading wine producers." 

So, as you can imagine, I was extremely excited to start. The wine profile is vast and varied, so as a winemaker I feel like a kid in a candy store. Having the opportunity to craft so many wine styles in the beautiful Barossa is a dream come true. 

"The Barossa is also emerging as one of Australia’s top food hubs, with fresh produce and food cooked from the heart." 

So, I would have to say that the Barossa is my most inspirational wine destination. That’s why I am so proud to call it my home.

More such amazing experiences on our facebook group Hop On and Hop Off
Follow us on instagram: @hoponandhopoff Twitter: @hoponandhopoff


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