Drinking Victoria: Nadege Sune

Published on 22 April 2021

Photo: Nadege Sune, co-founder, Serrat Vineyard

Your guide to what’s in the glass from the people in the trade.

Nadège Sune was raised to take over her family vineyard in the southern French appellation of Banyuls. Having completing her winemaking, wine marketing and winery management degrees, she arrived in Australia for one vintage in 1990 and never made it back. "Suffice to say some quality wine, friendships and lingo-learning flowed under the proverbial bridge," she says, and after a few more vintages in Australia she took on the role of marketing manager for Yarrabank in 1993 and Yering Station in 1996. From 2004, Sune worked as a strategic project manager for the Rathbone Wine Group. In 2008 she shifted focus to concentrate on a number of major projects founded with her husband, Tom Carson. These include running Mercurey Australia, a barrel importation business  they established 1992; the parenting of two daughters; Serrat vineyard, a small parcel of close-planted vine in the Yarra Valley, established 2001, and a Burgundian wine imports business established in 2009 to respond to the effect of the black Saturday disaster in their vineyard.

The last three delicious things I drank were… A late-disgorged sauvage sparkling from Yabby Lake that Tom brought home. The next on my mind is a Hardy 1957 shiraz from McLaren Vale. There is so much history in this country, I would love to see Aussies appreciate their own stories of time, place and indigenous ancestry more. Also on the list, a recent rendezvous with a Curly Flat 2018 pinot. I only had a taste, having to drive home after a lovely lunch at Bellota, but it was absolutely delicious and stayed with me all the way back to the Yarra Valley. That’s some finish. (Or perhaps I drive too fast.)

As far as I’m concerned, the defining place to get a drink in Victoria is in turn defined by whether I’ve eaten or not – before dinner I prefer Bar Americano because it is quick and to the point. There are no seats so you don’t hang around but instead dive right in and out of a delicious, balanced cocktail, setting the scene for a fun evening. After dinner, Siglo is my kind of institution. Under the stars, a great wine list, an Old World feel, and bang-on Negronis.

When someone hands me a wine list in a restaurantwhen I am with Tom, I will never be handed the wine list. The sommelier is right though – Tom’s memory of vintages,  vineyards and producers is encyclopaedic and I trust him to find any gem hidden in the list. If I am alone, I go straight to the wines offered by the glass; I love to select different wines with my courses.

The Victorian spirit I’m loving most right now is anything from Four Pillars. They are right next door and I love the team there! I really like their Kisumé gin. The real gin drinker in my family is my eldest daughter, Alix; she particularly enjoys Four Pillars’ Navy Strength, the new olive leaf gin and also highly rates Melbourne Gin Company, Bass and Flinders and Marionette liqueurs

My favourite place to buy booze in Melbourne is the Prince Wine Store without a doubt – and I loved it long before Tara, my youngest daughter, started working there. The choice is amazing! But in the Yarra, I love the Healesville Pub, the attached Healesville Cellar and Barrique Wine Store. We are well served, but hey, what goes around comes around!

In Victoria I’d love to see us planting more nebbiolo. The Yarra Valley is lucky to have the fog needed for neb to grow well. We just need more of it ­– maybe not the fog, but the nebbiolo! I’m also a huge fan of grenache noir and global warming may have a one good outcome yet on that front.

My guilty pleasure in the drinks cabinet or at the bar is Grand Marnier. I just love the stuff to drink and to drench on dessert – although I am also a bit partial to a Morris or Chambers muscat. I grew up with fortified – my father used to make Banyuls, the fortified grenache noir – so I don’t have to feel guilty. Rather, I consider it my duty because it is in my blood!

For me, the most inspiring person in the Victorian drinks world is I think the industry itself is inspiring in the way the community has reacted to such an awful year. I honestly find it humbling; the courage and tenacity of our bars, restaurants and pubs is nothing if not remarkable.


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