The 50th Anniversary Issue

Our 50th birthday issue is on sale now. We're celebrating five decades of great food and travel with our biggest issue yet.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller before 27th November, 2016 and receive a Villeroy & Boch platter!

Gourmet on your iPad

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad.

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,


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


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

Latest news
Pinbone is opening a new Sydney restaurant
Melbourne’s Rosa’s Kitchen has closed
Hot Plates: Pickett’s Deli & Rotisserie, Melbourne
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards are coming to Melbourne and we know where and when
Missy French has closed
Automata’s Clayton Wells is taking over Silvereye
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
things to do this autumn

Whether it's foraging for wild mushrooms in a picturesque Victorian forest or watching a film by moonlight in Darwin, we've got you covered with 20 exciting autumn experiences from around Australia.

Read More
Gourmet TV

Check out our YouTube channel for our latest cover recipes, chef cooking demos, interviews and more.

Watch Now

You might also like...

Albert Street Food & Wine

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

Ananas Bar & Brasserie

With a soundtrack laden with dance beats and a dark, moody ...

Aravina Estate

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


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


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...


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


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


Beccofino is family-friendly casual. A bench perch on the c...


Squirrelled away in a dim, skinny street at the city's frin...

Billy Kwong

There's Australian Chinese food, and then there's Australia...

Bistro Gitan

With its impressive pedigree (launched by the progeny of lo...

Bistro Guillaume

A slice of the Left Bank on Southbank, this chic bistro wor...

get the latest news

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