Interview with Zonte’s Footstep’s Brad Rey
Interview with Zonte’s Footstep’s Brad Rey
What got you into wine?
Back home in Canada, all our liquor store used to be operated by the provincial (state) government. I was lucky enough to be involved with one of the very first privately owned and operated wineshops in 1986, when I was 19 years of age, prior to that I worked in restaurants. The way the shop worked was we imported and retailed wines not carried by the government stores, so we became importers, retailers and because of my background in restaurants, wrote specialist wine lists…. This was when I really got bitten!
When and why did you start Zonte’s Footstep?
A group of wine know-it-alls got together to create a wine brand that would educate new varieties and styles in the Australian marketplace back in 2003… and now there is but two of us left in the business, producing wines from 6 regions of South Australia and 26 wines!
How did a Canuck end up in OZ?
Whilst traveling and sourcing wineries, I started to do stints dragging hoses and working vintage with wineries in California and Oregon… this is where I met an Australian winemaker, Brian Croser, who inspired me to study winemaking in Australia, and he happened to be the head of the school at Charles Sturt University.
Most rewarding experience at Zonte’s Footstep?
Every day! We have such an amazing team, full of passion and focussed. The next chapter is our canning line which comes into action this week! Watch this space!
I have come across some people who have truly inspired me. Richard Harvey (one of the most humble and amazing palates I have ever met in the wine industry, and the one that got me truly hooked), Kermit Lynch (passion and energy), Tim Hanni MW (the JK Rowling of wine! he can articulate anything in or about wine and make it fun and interesting) , Jim Clendenen (high energy, high passion and a kindred background. his comment he made decades ago has stuck with me: “Respect the dirt you own and the fruit you grow, make wine that puts a smile on your consumers face… and make sure the smile is still there when they pay for it!” Thanks Jim. and, Paolo de Marchi (he is the DaVinci of wine… and a passionate soul)…. Many, many more that I could put forward, but I think they are pulling me off the podium 😂.
Most interesting wine you’ve ever had?
I would have to say it was a Chateauneuf du Pape, age Inconnu, from King George the V’s wine cellar. There were three in a judge magistrates’ cellar who had passed away in my hometown and the asked the shop to appraise one of the bottles for the estate. It tasted of balsamic vinegar, long past its prime, but after spitting it out a minute later we could taste the dried remnants of Syrah/the wine …. And that’s what made want to produce something that can create a memorable experience to someone’s life.
What’s in your cellar right now?
Where do I start…. Lots of Old World, Isole Olena, 5 magnums of 1982 Sir Winston Churchill ( one had been drunk🤓), 3 bottles of 2013 Dominus Estate, 11 bottles of 2010 Chateau du Beaucastel, 5 bottles of 2013 Tiganello…. Are just some of my favs. We(the family) have over 60 dozen wines in our “cellar”.
What would you do if you weren’t making and selling wine?
I was always going to be an architect… but the joy of wine (and food) stole my heart and I never finished the degree. I still have a passion for architecture and design, especially down the passive model (can’t help but be a greenie!).
What do you like to do in your free time?
What’s that? …. No really, I love to spend time with my family, around a table after cooking up a storm and enjoying great meal with great drink.
ZONTE’S FOOTSTEP – CHOCOLATE FACTORY SHIRAZ
Warm blackberry pie with notes of fresh blueberries and blackberry preserve. Star anise, nutmeg and cocoa sneak up under the berry fruit.
TROMBETTA PINOT NOIR “SONOMA COAST”
Ripe wild cherry, beautiful earth “Pinot Funk”. Crisp acid with red and purple fruit, long finish with hints of black tea.
GEORGES VIGOUROUX – CAHORS
The color shows a dark and elegant red. The red fruits and violet nose is intense and slightly mentholated. On the palate we discover a fruity and pleasant taste around black fruits. This is a gourmet wine.
CHATEAU DE LA FONT DU LOUP – COTES DU RHONE ROUGE
Red and black fruits greet the nose along with lavender floral notes. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied and fresh with silky smooth tannins. Black cherry liqueur, ripe black plum and black raspberry flavours linger in this wine that exhibits considerable elegance and finesse.
Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs
Reviews and Features
We’re happy to announce we have a feature in the Washington Post this month and the Wine Spectator. Click each image to be brought to the corresponding article!
The Wine Spectator
Domaine du Grapillon d’Or
2017 Cuvée 1806 (Gigondas)
Wine Spectator: 92 Points
“Nicely rendered, with a focused core of cassis and bitter cherry fruit, lined with subtle bergamot, garrigue and red tea notes. Reveals a dusting of sandalwood on the finish. Best from 2021 through 2028. 4,900 cases made, 850 cases imported.”