Michelle Bouffard and Mac Forbes
With Michelle Bouffard, Mac Forbes
Wednesday Oct 25 2023 12:00 am BST
Is making wine in Australia sustainable considering all of the challenges the country is facing with climate change? Speaking to producer Mac Forbes certainly gives hopes. Based in the Yarra Valley, Forbes employs regenerative farming practices with no irrigation. The resulting wines are fresh, vibrant and often below 13%. Join us to hear what makes it possible.
Guest - Mac Forbes
Born, raised and now making wine in the Yarra Valley in Victoria, Mac Forbes has become one of the region's shining lights and one of the country's biggest champions of sustainable terroir driven wines.
His travels across Europe informed his view on how the world sees Australian wine and influenced his winemaking style and his range.
His focus, however, has always been on the vineyard where he believes that all great wines are made. As his own website says, since his first vintage in 2004 he is moving to 'something with far greater focus on regenerative farming and total vitality of the land. Life and the balance between all living entities is now what we strive to embrace.
Future proofing is a concept we spend a lot of time considering, given the changing nature of seasons. This is a multi-faceted discussion, with significant emphasis on site selection, farming practices and suitability of alternative varieties. Through careful consideration of soil profile, property aspect, seasonal rainfall and growing degree days, we are able to tailor our farming to the needs of each individual property and establish vines that are less dependent on our inputs.
It is worth noting we have now moved into areas that have historically been considered too marginal for vines. By increasing our engagement with the land, and approaching farming decisions with a long-term view, we hope that we will see vitality, balance and diversity in our vineyards for generations to come.'
Host - Michelle Bouffard
Originally from Quebec, Michelle moved to Vancouver to complete her Bachelor of Music degree in classical trumpet where she unexpectedly ventured into wine while working in a fine dining restaurant. Determined to make her mark in the wine industry, she graduated as a sommelier with the highest honours from the International Sommelier Guild in 2003 and completed the Diploma from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) in 2005.
Michelle was the co-owner of house wine from 2003 to 2015, a highly regarded company based in Vancouver that specialized incellar management and educational events. She also founded and was also the president of British Columbia chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers.
Michelle now lives and teaches WSET courses in Montreal and gives numerous training sessions including for wine associations such as Inter Rhône, Wines of Portugal, Wines of New Zealand and Wine Australia. She works closely with the nursery Lilian Bérillon located in the Rhone Valley acting as a wine educator and ambassador.
Michelle first book “Dis-moi qui tu es, je te dirai quoi boire” was published by Cardinal Editions in 2017, and has contributed to the recipe book “Le Secret des Vietnamiennes” by Kim Thùy. For the past five years, she has been the sommelier on the popular Quebec cooking show Curieux Bégin. She also writes for Quench, Véro and Meininger’s Wine Business International magazines and can be heard on the radio show of Pénélope on CBC radio.
In 2017, Michelle founded Tasting Climate Change, an international symposium to explore the challenges and solutions in the wine industry. In 2018, Urbania Magazine recognized her work by selecting her as one of 50 extraordinary Quebecers.
Michelle is often invited to sit on various panels and judges at numerous wine competitions in Canada and abroad. Ever the eternal perfectionist, she is continuing her studies at the prestigious Institute of Masters of Wine.