Wine. Information. Regions. Grape Varieties. Tourism. Cellar Doors. Breweries. Mapping. Bio-security. Vineyards. Distilleries.
1803/454 St Kilda Rd MELBOURNE Victoria 3004 Australia
m 0419 503 198 +61 0419 503 198
Proprietor: Dick Friend BA (Environmental Design)
Dick was recruited from the age of 10 into shining a torch through the neck of bottles of unfiltered reds in order that, as his father required, not too much "sentiment" was carried into the decanters for early gatherings of the Hobart Beefsteak & Burgundy Club. At 16 he took his girlfriend to a restaurant, and they shared a bottle they ordered and were served. The licensing police were not looking for underage WINE drinkers in 1968, unless it was Stones Green Ginger Wine under the grandstand at the local football oval!
Membership of wIne appreciation groups led to Dick editing wine newsletters in the 1980s, and involvement in wine wholesaling and retailing. He once held Australia's largest distilling licence - to produce the essential oils from fennel grown on 22 farms, and destined for pernod production. Other innovative mariculture projects followed including farming scallops, and the running of Australia's southernmost salmon farm in Tasmania's remote Recherche Bay.
In the '90s, Dick established a specialty food wholesaling business, managed industry peak bodies in marketing and IT, and consulted in the wine industry, before joining David Hurburgh in VineFinders.
Founder: David Hurburgh BSc (Geology major), GradDipFinMan
David began working life as an exploration geologist in remote areas of Australia, before overseas assignments in Gabon & London. Later, as CEO of an $80M mining float in Canada, he used used GPS technologies for exploration mapping, and saw the need for GPS content to navigate the Mornington Peninsula wineries he was visiting. After visiting all states recording cellar door locations, Australian Wine Selector magazine’s inaugural “Wine Industry Innovator of the Year” in 2005.
WINE PUNTERS PROFILE OF DICK FRIEND
2 December 2009 - Phil Jennings - www.winepunters.com
Phil published this with the photograph of Dick, with partner Julie at right, navigating Siena with guide Roberta on Siena's first-ever food-and-wine matching tour - see www.guidesiena.it/vinaccia/enogastronomia.html#
Dick finds the vines
Dick was part of the team at the Aberfeldy Cellars during the time when it was one of the few places that was serious about the promotion of quality Tasmanian wine. During the early 1990's the Aberfeldy Cellars was the place to go if you were after premium wine - even beer drinkers knew that! They also had a newsletter that attempted to entertain and educate wine lovers as well as providing the start for people like Mark Smith.
While Dick's departure from the Aberfeldy would bring a smile to the face of all patriotic Aussies, "I have to confess I was sacked for dancing on the tables and being late for work the next day" (Aussie Aussie Aussie - Drink, Dance, Sacked! - Ed), it was hardly auspicious. However it was the start of a chain of experiences relating to the promotion of quality Tasmanian foods. Part of this journey saw Dick working on a marine industry project funded by Japanese government as part of their foreign aid program for 'third world' countries. Yes punters to the Japanese Tasmania is a 'developing nation' (er .... thanks for the help .... I guess - Ed).
This long association with promoting quality products has left Dick with some definite views on the opportunities available to Tasmania as well as a level of frustration regarding the lack of progress in the pursuit of those opportunities. As an example, at the time Dick was promoting premium cheese products he could see that this segment of the dairy industry had the potential to be a major contributor to the Tasmanian economy but significant government assistance was being directed to supporting producers of powdered milk.
Dick believes this bias toward commodity over quality extends across a range of industries and shows a lack of understanding that Tasmania's future lies in being different, not just a smaller version of everyone else. This view is mirrored with the ongoing debate in the wine industry as a whole as Australia tries to manage being both a premium and bulk wine producer.
This frustration, coupled with his love for the environment, saw him throw his hat into the political ring. He stood in the electorate of Denison for the Tasmanian Greens during the early to mid 1990's. While gaining a respectable number of votes it wasn't enough for him to be successful so Dick had to keep working for a living.
Shortly after this time he started to contribute to a project designed to provide content for the emerging technology around car navigation systems. Wanting to build on his wine experience Dick and his partners decided to help people find their way to vineyards. "Getting around the Mornington Peninsula is diabolical ... it's the same in the Adelaide Hills" he argues.
To address this issue Dick has spent a lot of time driving around various wine regions collecting the coordinates of every vineyard he could find. The result of all this hard work is now available on the Vinefinders website. It is a very impressive collection. There is even a vineyard logged for the Northern Territory!
At first it was difficult to convince people that having this information would be helpful. "People didn't understand the need for it ... it wasn't until we produced a map (the wine map of Victoria) that people could start to see the usefulness of it". Recently a wine map of Tasmania has joined the Victorian one and is being promoted within the state by Graeme Phillips.
Two and a half years ago Dick decided to move to Melbourne. "I wanted to pursue this idea (vinefinders) and I met up with someone (Julie) I had a relationship with 33 years ago". So how are things second time around? "It's so much easier ... you don't have to discover all sorts of things about them .... there's less likely to be skeletons in the cupboard, or you know about them already" he quipped. Julie is on the right of the photo on this page. The shot was taken during a guided food and wine matching tour of Siena in Italy.
So it is that Dick finds himself running the vinefinders website from an apartment in St Kilda and breaking out a bottle of Moscato for a couple of very grateful winepunters. We will do a more in depth review of the vinefinders site and the Tasmanian Wine and Gastronomy Map in the future but our experience with both of them so far indicates that they are well worth using next time you head out into wine country.
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