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Melbourne Food and Wine Festival: With Wine Legend Jancis Robinson

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA -- Melbourne has the foodie X factor. Always in the media for its thriving and ever-growing food and wine scene (as seen in photos 1 and 2), this Aussie city is a food lover’s heaven. And a testament to this is the internationally acclaimed Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, taking place this year from the 1st – 17th of March.

Every year the festival takes over the city, re-igniting people’s passion for great grub and delicious drinks – not that the notoriously food-orientated Melburnians need much help with that. At a variety of events, the city’s established and critically acclaimed food front-runners exhibit alongside newcomers making waves in the culinary scene. But lest we forget the wine, after all, it is 50% of the festival’s title.

Food always gets a lot of publicity, and can even sometimes steal wine’s thunder – rendering it simply as an accompaniment tailored to the food in question (red with meat, white with seafood, etc.). This year at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, however, wine is fighting back, and doing a pretty good job of it too.

Arguably the most eagerly anticipated event at this year’s festival is the Acqua Panna Global Wine Experience, a first and one-off that will include four never-seen-before wine tasting sessions led by none other than wine legend, Jancis Robinson OBE MW. Jancis has dedicated her whole life to the realm of wine. Not only is she a wine critic, journalist and editor of wine literature, but she also advises Queen Elizabeth II on what to stock in her wine cellar! Moreover, she edited The Oxford Companion to Wine and wrote the book, Wine Grapes, co-authored with Julia Harding MW and Dr José Vouillamoz.

thalo spoke to Jancis to get a sneak peek into this year’s exciting experience. “Acqua Panna Global Wine Experience takes place over the weekend of March 9 and 10, 2013. It includes four benchmark tastings, Whose Pinot Reigns Supreme?, To Champagne…and Beyond!, Great Wines of the World: An Exploration and The Wines of Wonderland.” Among the many offerings are wine master classes, food and wine pairing and blind tastings, all headed up by Jancis herself. “I will be co-hosting the latter two sessions and have been closely involved in selecting the wines we will be tasting and discussing. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how my fellow panel members and the audience see them.”

And Melbourne is just the place for it, she continues. “Melbourne has food and wine in its DNA, and the Festival is designed to express this in so many ways. Vis-à-vis wine, I appreciate the dedication to sourcing rare and interesting wines with no corners cut. The result looks like an impressive collection of wines to be explored and enjoyed over the Acqua Panna Global Wine Experience weekend.”

This experience is a first for the festival and a first for Jancis as well. So it’s not just the ticketholders who are excited about it: Jancis is too. But what is she most looking forward to about the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival? “Sharing great food, wine and conversation,” she says. And who can blame her.

For more information on the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, visit

All photos courtesy of Melbourne Food and Wine