Fine wine inspires judge’s career change
TASTING a nice bottle of wine in a Brisbane restaurant where he worked was the catalyst for Eddie McDougall to explore a career in the wine business.
“I tested it as a novice… normally I drank the cheapest wine that came in the biggest box I could find,” the 2015 Qantas Wine Show international judge said.
“It inspired me to learn how to make it.
“I moved to Victoria and did a wine, technology and viticulture course as a postgraduate.”
The Hong Kong-born businessman, who moved to Australia aged 11, completed his degree part-time so he could work in the industry at the same time.
However, in 2008, his father became ill so he went back to Hong Kong.
Mr McDougall said his father, an innovator who started as a dairy farmer in Brisbane, was his inspiration, inventing parts for the Remington hair-dryer and most famously the Colgate electric toothbrush.
Following his father’s death in 2008, Mr McDougall pursued a winery in the Barolo region of northern Italy for work.
“I must have sent them 100 emails and made 20 telephone calls,” he said. “They invited me to work with them for their harvest.”
Mr McDougall still returns to the winery every year to harvest, but is based in Hong Kong with his wife Frederica and 10-monthold son Hugo.
In 2011, he opened the Flying Winemaker in Hong Kong.
“It’s a tasting gallery with a retail component,” he said.
“We invite producers or their representatives to host fun wine tastings.
“It’s an opportunity for Hong Kong people to meet and talk to the winemakers because usually they just talk to a sales person.”
Mr McDougall was in Mt Barker earlier this month for the Qantas Wine Show judging and said “the wines are world-class”.
He said it was important for winemakers to put their wines in an international, rather than just national, context.
The Qantas Wine Show 38th Annual Awards Dinner is on October 30 at the Hyatt.
For tickets, visit wineshowwa.com.au.