Meet Matt Herde
Meet Matt Herde: Director at Rogue Vintner
1. What inspired you to create your collection of wines?
After many years in the industry (27 years) I have honed my palate and worked out what I really like in a wine (I certainly had fun doing it). Given my career has taken me to many parts of the globe I have had the benefit of picking up on trends and seeing first-hand what styles of wine are really resonating with consumers across many markets. I picked up that many consumers seek up-front flavour and demand drinkability, freshness and they also want to feel a sense of discovery. So many of the big brands these days have been dumbed down so much that they have lost that essence of intrigue and discovery that many wine drinkers seek. The main inspiration for my wines was to produce styles that are refreshing, fruit forward and have interest with the consumer in mind. By interest I mean enough complexity in the wine to keep the drinker engaged without being too serious at the same time.
2. Are there other wine makers you look up to and why?
Good question; I think everyone has been influenced by someone they have worked with in their career. For me it would be Gavin Berry who I worked with at Plantagenet Wines in Western Australia for a number of years. Gavin is now a shareholder and the head winemaker at West Cape Howe winery in the Great Southern which is where I make my white blend. Gavin has a great work ethic of working hard but having fun along the way. He is also responsible for turning me into a Riesling nut which as it turns out is the backbone of my white blend. A couple of other great Australian winemakers (characters) come to mind in Chester Osborn from dÁrenberg or Charlie Melton from Charles Melton wines. They are both lovely guys who are very passionate about what they do. They craft seriously good wines and they know how to tell a great story. Characters like these are essential to the Australia Wine Industry.
3. What’s your favorite recipe and do you have a favorite wine to pair it with?
That’s a tough question. We have all upped our cooking game in the various lockdowns over the last 18 months! A couple of highlights for me would be an Australian Crayfish (lobster) linguine pasta with pan sautéed cherry tomatoes, garlic, chilli, white wine and Italian parsley (perfect with the Vinovator Mish Mash White) or a Greek Style slow cooked lamb shoulder; fall off the bone meat with garlic and lemon roast potatoes. Lamb cooked like this calls for a good Aussie Shiraz.
4. What is your favorite part of the creative process of creating wine?
Blending without a doubt. It is amazing how as little 1-2% of a different wine can really impact a blend. It’s a little like cooking where you are playing off the favours from the different ingredients and striving for that perfect balance.
5. What’s your favorite place you’ve travelled to?
So many places to choose from; I lived in NYC for 18 months and I still love going back when work takes me there. It is hard to beat the constant energy of the city and the array of dining. If I am thinking local it would be down the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. There is a little town called Wye River. It has one pub and a coffee shop (what else do you need!), amazing views of the ocean and you are surrounded by wildlife (Koalas, Kangaroo’s, native birds). It is a very relaxing place to take the family.
6. If you had any advice for someone who wanted to create wine what would you tell them?
Start by working with a great vineyard….if you don’t have great grapes you will not get far. After that it would be to identify your target market and produce a style that fits the market. There is no point in producing a big rich heavy red when the market is calling for lighter fresher reds for instance.
7. When you’re not drinking wine what’s your drink of choice?
I do love the craft beer scene and find myself drinking a decent amount of Pale Ale, IPA and Stout during the cooler months. I have also recently got in to drinking brandy which I love. My wife is from Mexico so I also drink my fair share of Tequila….the good stuff, reposado’s and Anejo.
8. Favorite music?
Probably more of a Rock/Pop guy. I love what Ed Sheeran is doing and it is hard to go past the classic guys like Bruce Springsteen or Billy Joel. I do find myself bopping along to some of the pop in the car that my kids listen to. I would struggle to name the bands or singers though.
9. Favorite sports team?
Definitely my North Melbourne Kangaroo’s in the Australian National Football League. We are having a tough couple of years although we are heading in the right direction with a young team.
10. What is the most challenging and rewarding part of wine making during the pandemic?
Winemaking has been fine in terms of production as we are deemed an essential service. There has been the odd issue with staff shortages around the country, especially for casual staff around harvest. I think the hardest part has really come on the sales side and international distribution. With the closure of on-premise in many parts of the world over the last 18 months it has really impacted the route to market for many small brands like mine. The largest impact to the Australian Wine Industry which has resulted from the political fallout of COVID has been the reaction from China in putting 216% tariffs on Australian wine. This killed our number 1 market overnight with many producers needing to scramble to find new markets. Not an easy task in the middle of a pandemic. Any help we can get from our North American friends is appreciated!
Omrah Pinot Noir – Fresh and youthful with a fleshy core of dense red fruit and sour cherry. Supple tannins and hints of toasty oak and fresh crunchy acidity on the finish. Showing great regional character with depth of flavour and varietal definition.
Omrah Sauvignon Blanc – Intense guava upfront and hints of crunchy white nectarine and fresh citrus pith. A subtle textural element adds complexity and delicate acidity provides a crisp dry finish.
Omrah Shiraz – Firm even tannins, plush and dense, blue fruits, plum, spicy charry oak, cardamon, nutmeg, subtle savouriness, good fresh acid with a brooding lingering finish.
An Inside Look at Our Artisans and Vines Team!
Joe Gareri was Artisans & Vines’s first sales rep. While interviewing with another distributor, Joe asked Eric Platt for background information on the other company, and he responded by asking Joe to interview with him and the others partners of Artisans & Vines. The company was due to receive its Maryland distributor license in a couple of months and was looking for a hybrid sales rep / part-time delivery driver. When Joe was hired, he delivered wine one day a week and the need for delivery days quickly grew beyond that. A little more than two years later, Artisans & Vines now has five sales reps, a logistics coordinator, and three delivery drivers! Joe is thrilled to have been given the opportunity and to work with such great people at Artisans & Vines. He’s also quite content that he does not have to deliver wines on a regular basis.
Before joining Artisans & Vines, Joe worked in the retail sector after serving several years as a stay-at-home dad. Prior to that, Joe worked many years in student affairs for Boston University, which included living in Australia where he was able to travel from wine region to wine region exploring the diversity of Australian wines. Joe lives in Greenbelt with his wife, two (almost) teenage daughters, and an excessive amount of pets.
VINOVATOR – MISH MASH WHITE
Citrus, lime, spice, nashi pear, floral, perfume, musk, refreshing, bright, acidity, juicy mid-palate, zippy, fresh, tangy, pithy, minerality, textural.
VINOVATOR – MASH UP RED
Juicy, red fruit, briar berries, blue berries, spice, strawberries, roguish charm, refreshing, balance, licorice, crushed leaves, bright, intriguing, complex, savoury, fine-grained tannin.