James Hird

NameJames Hird
WorkRootstock Co-founder

Biggest wine-related influence?
The Jura region in France has for a long time been an area of obsession. The climate and soils create some of the most site-expressive and engaging wines on the planet. The relationship between food, wine and place is truly unique. The natural acidity of the wines and the way the wines reflect the people and place they are from is remarkable. The Jura is easily the biggest influence on my palate and was the place that crystallised my obsession with wine.

Favourite wine?
That’s an almost impossible point to arrive at, the wines that remind me of the place they are from and reflect the personality of the winemaker who bottled them. It’s a long list that doesn’t have an end. A few producers spring to mind but it’s just the beginning of the list. Overnoy, Panevino, Shobbrook, Bartolo Mascarello, L’anglore…

What do you love most about Rootstock?
It’s driven by nothing other than belief. It’s about supporting people who farm sustainably and is a collaboration of so many like minded spirits. Whilst its creative agenda is driven mostly by Giorgio De Maria, it’s a not-for-profit event which purity of concept is unlike any other. Food wine and art. It hasn’t been an easy road but working with dear friends Mike Bennie and Giorgio with a support cast that extends far and wide is essentially fun with a message that is close to my heart.

How important is sustainability in the food and wine industries to you?
It’s strange that it’s really only recently on the agenda. Food and wine are agricultural products that need to be viable and healthy, and it’s paramount this process is sustainable. Both population environmental needs dictate a disposable culture is not viable, sustainability is a topic that will only become more and more important.

How do you think Australian wine fares on the world stage?
It’s in a great place. Particularly low intervention winemaking, the explosion of producers has seen an influx of creative young winemakers working alongside an already dynamic industry. It’s great to see so many producers making wine with great natural acidity and with lower alcohol - drinkability focussed wines.