2 minutes with Yoko Luscher-Mostert
Business: Brave New Wine
Role - winemaker/co-owner along with partner Andries Mostert
Lives: Denmark, WA
Tell us about Brave New Wine wines.
We’re small batch but we make a lot of small batches if that makes sense. For example, our botanical Riesling - Dreamland Riesling - it’s only four barrels and that’s a big production for us of one particular wine. We made 16 different wines this vintage just gone. That includes a couple variations of Chardonnay with varying degrees of skin contact. We made an SSB this year and some Shiraz, some Vermentino, all kinds of interesting stuff. We make stuff we want to drink.
What are the challenges you encounter in producing the kinds of wines you want to drink/make?
It’s risky to make wine the way we make wine. Things go wrong; they go very wrong. We’ve made vinegar in the past. On the flip side, when they go right the wines really sing. It’s worth the risk for us.
What do you love about living and making wine where you do?
Great Southern is a great place to raise kids. We live seven kilometres away from the most beautiful beaches in the whole of Australia. Most of the time there’s not even another footprint in the sand on these most amazing beaches. It’s stunning. We can’t think of any better place to raise our kids.
Regarding wine, it’s really interesting. We’re not bound by tradition like other more well-established or well-known wine regions are. We can be a bit more free with how we make wine. When we make a Riesling, for example, no one bats an eye when we do something a bit different like add some time in barrel or skin contact. The isolation is, in a lot of ways, a benefit. We have to look within to decide what we want to do with the wines.
Brave New Wine features great labels – where do they come from?
I paint the background and hand draw the lettering. The side and back label is Andries’ handwriting – he’s got amazing hand-writing. We give it all to a graphic designer and she goes shoom and magics it all together then sends it off to the printer.
It’s said too often but that sort of marriage of art and science in wine, I think it goes beyond what goes in your glass. I’m no marketer but people obviously will select a bottle of wine for how it looks, how it feels. They want to pick the bottle up and touch it and that’s half the sale already made. It’s important to me, and Andries as well, that we are both a big part of that production from start to finish and that includes the wine labels too.
I guess I’ve set myself a pretty hard task of creating a new label for each wine each year but it’s important because each wine has a different personality so it needs to have its own label.
Pet-nat – what’s all the fuss about?
I think the beauty of pet-nat is that they’re capturing a moment. They’re a fleeting moment in a bottle. They’re made to be drunk and enjoyed not analysed. Most of them are pretty rough and raw; they’re just real wines.
If we were to visit your town, where should we eat and drink?
I can answer this very confidently. Shoot down Albany highway and pull in to a place called Liberte, which is in Albany. Amy Hamilton is the head chef/owner. She supports heaps of local tiny wineries and producers around Australia. The cocktails are really cool; the food is French/Vietnamese. She makes these crab noodles that are just insane. We call them crack noodles because you can’t stop at one serving. It’s a good representation of Great Southern and no visit is complete without a visit to Liberte.
You’ve been nominated as one of the final 12 Young Guns of Wine - what does that mean to you?
This is actually our third time in Final 12. It means having a really good time and making some new friends. It’s a fantastic marketing exercise. It’s also a good excuse to go East and get your wine in front of heaps of people. We’ve made the best mates over the last few years. Not just industry contacts but really genuine friendships.
What’s your first wine associated memory?
Stealing sips from the sweet Riesling that mum and dad had in the fridge. To be honest, having European parents we were allowed to have a bit of wine mixed with water with our meals from a young age. Drinking was never a huge deal. It was something to be enjoyed, not to get drunk.
We’ve had to think about our relationship with alcohol with having young children around. There are often multiple bottles on the go, tasting our own wines as well as others. The kids want a sniff and a sip. We have a rule though that they have to give us tasting notes afterwards. (laughs)
My wine awakening, when the penny dropped, though I can distinctly remember. It was when Andries and I first met and he was the assistant winemaker at Picardy in Pemberton. He was bringing home bottles of their top tier Pinot that they thought might be smoke affected. So we got all this wine that we couldn’t have afforded. We were living on the bones of our arse but we had access to this amazing wine. I remember having a piece of cheese with this Pinot and going wow, this is what it’s all about. This is what everyone is talking about. It was quite a revelation.
You can follow Yoko and her life in wine with Andries on Instagram @bravenewwine
The Young Gun of Wine Awardsare Monday 18 June, you can follow the action, winners and wineslingers @younggunofwine
Interview by Amanda Kennedy. Amanda is an artist currently doing a writing degree. You can find her on Instagram @artbyamandakennedy