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Wine voices – Steve Shannon, Cellar Door Manager, Juniper Estate

“I bought a block of land in Forest Grove next to what is currently Devil’s Lair, in 1976, with a couple of mates; we were 22. And then I had to pay for it, so I went away and worked for a few years and moved here permanently in ’82. When I arrived you could either milk cows or learn about grapes. I tried milking cows and it was ok but I didn’t like the early starts so I learnt about grapes.”

“There wasn’t a wine industry as such until much, much later than people talk about now. Dave Hohnen won a couple of Jimmy Watsons at Cape Mentelle and that certainly brought the wine world’s attention to Margaret River. I think still at that stage, West Australians hadn’t developed a real pride in Margaret River. They were still happy to buy South Australian wine at the liquor store. I think it got momentum a little bit later in the 80’s. Some sort of critical mass has to be reached.”

“We work on the assumption that our job is to demystify, as much as possible, so great conversations about wine from really ultra basic to quite complex. I enjoy it of course because I love telling stories and I love the history of the place and having been involved in a lot of it, it’s a personal story. Almost universally people want to have a genuine experience. I think the people who work in this position generally are passionate about what they’re doing. And enjoy people.”

Max Brearley

About Max Brearley

Max Brearley is a food writer, critic, consultant and host working with The Australian, The Guardian, Halliday, Margaret River Gourmet Escape, Truffle Kerfuffle, Conde Nast Traveller and delicious. to name just a few. A passion for a good yarn and great produce has seen him forage for native foods in the north west of WA, follow abalone from ocean to plate in the south west and dig for black truffles in the towering Southern Forests. He’s also been known to cast a critical eye over a meal or two for The Australian’s annual Hot 50 Restaurants and delicous., as well as producing written, visual and event content for organisations across Australia and globally.

Whilst a proud Yorkshireman; he’s been moving south for much of his life. Relocating from London to Perth in 2012, a move to the southwest soon followed, where life girt by sea and vines is more than agreeable.

Instagram: @max_brearley / Twitter: @maxbrearley / Web: maxbrearley.com

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