The summer issue

Our summer-packed January issue is out now - featuring our guide to summer rieslings, strawberries and seafood recipes, as well as a look at the best of Bali.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller for just $6 an issue - offer ends 29th January, 2017.

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

Sommelier of the Year 2009: James Erskine, Auge, Adelaide

In a wine-savvy town, Adelaide sommelier James Erskine stands tall for his dedicated yet humble approach to guiding restaurant diners’ wine choices. The 29-year-old sommelier at Auge restaurant has combined a winning mix of easy charm with infectious enthusiasm to recommend superb wines that suit Auge’s modern take on Italian food, based on knowledge gleaned from direct activity in winemaking, hospitality and international travel since his late teens.

Having previously worked in Berlin, Austria and South Africa, and as sommelier at Penfolds’ Magill Estate Restaurant and as guest sommelier at the Park Hyatt Tokyo, Erskine says he’s pleased that he has remained in Adelaide to further his profession. “I could have gone to Melbourne, but I would have been an understudy. In Adelaide, I’ve had the opportunity to take a leading role – and there were a few ideas that I wanted to push. I wanted to see less black, inky wines and more diversity,” he adds, pointing to Auge’s list built around Italian imports and Australian wines made from Italian varietals. “We need to promote a greater sense of identity in restaurants. I’ve pushed the Italian focus of our food through to the wines, and to get more top quality wines poured by the glass. It has been successful because customers have come to trust our judgement.”

Erskine’s deep wine knowledge has been built through diverse means, from working three vintages in three countries to serious academic pursuits. He spent a total of five years studying agricultural science at the University of Adelaide, which included a year at UC Davis, in California, to explore soil chemistry. After commencing work at Auge, James simultaneously completed an honours thesis in soil chemistry. “I wasn’t going to travel the path of an academic, but the studies were designed to get me thinking and learning.”

His ultimate goal is to improve links between wineries and restaurants, which has led to a unique joint venture between Auge and three South Australian wineries. James is currently making three wines for the restaurant under the Vino By Auge label, having sourced montepulciano from Damien Tscharke’s 10-year-old Barossa vines, pinot grigio from The Lane’s Hahndorf vineyards and sangiovese from Domaine Lucy Margaux in the Adelaide Hills.

He is also forming a collaborative group to encourage Adelaide sommeliers to network with wine retailers and wholesale representatives. “I want to see greater dialogue between everyone about wine. Everyone knows quite a bit, there’s a general lack of grooming in that knowledge. It should be developed further; you can never have enough knowledge.”

Auge, 22 Grote St, Adelaide, SA, (08) 8410 9332, auge.com.au

WORDS DAVID SLY PHOTOGRAPHY BEN SEARCY

This article appeared in the September 2008 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
What to order at Salt Bae's restaurant
17.01.2017
Hot Plates: Pino’s Vino e Cucina, Sydney
16.01.2017
Long Chim Melbourne opens today
16.01.2017
Ben Shewry does souvlaki
13.01.2017
Pure South returns to its roots
12.01.2017
Kitchen by Mike lands at Sydney Airport
12.01.2017
GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

See more
2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

See more

You might also like...

Albert Street Food & Wine

Philippa Sibley may have left the building, but Albert St F...

Aravina Estate

The family-friendly nature of Aravina explains the terracot...

Assaggio

Assaggio's very red, very mod fit-out has undeniable flair,...

Aubergine

The grey-whiskered Ben Willis could pass for a maturing, bu...

Annie Smithers' Bistrot

Annie Smithers may have decamped for Du Fermier, but the bi...

Aquitaine Brasserie

The name is a nod to France's south-west gastronomic heartl...

Bacchus - Brisbane

Rydges doesn't exactly leap to mind when you think "complex...

Balla

Pronounce it "bah-la" for Piedmont-born artist and composer...

Balthazar

The mixing of business and pleasure comes second nature to ...

Boucher

Escargots, foie gras, bouillabaisse - the expected French s...

Carlton Wine Room

The relaxed ambience and witty, irreverent service may say ...

Celsius

A land of smoke and mirrors, Celsius is an urbane, nightclu...

Citron

Mark Newman's cassia beef cheek is the type of dish that ce...

Divido

To those who dream of the old country, Divido is the modern...

David’s

David's hums with renewed energy since its transformation t...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×