The National Wine Centre of Australia.

James Boden

National Wine Centre of Australia
Corner of Botanic & Hackney Roads, Adelaide, SA

While studying for a geology degree, James Boden was dining out when he was approached by a sommelier who had overheard him explaining how rosé was made. Fast-forward a week and James was all suited up, ready to work as a sommelier at Rockpool Bar & Grill – and he hasn’t looked back since.

Boden is now the head sommelier at The National Wine Centre in Adelaide, where he has built a list showcasing wines from across Australia. “We show some international wines like Champagne but the main selection is devoted to Australian wines,” he says. “Our aim is to seek the local gems in each region and give customers an accurate representation of what each region produces. We have 120 wines available for tasting through our Enomatic machines and I like to think of it as an adult version of the kid in the candy store... something for everyone.”

The concrete fermenters at Cape Jaffa, one of the best wineries in the region, enhance the texture of the wines.
James Boden was studying geology when he was offered a job in wine.

Since lockdown, Boden has been holding virtual masterclasses, showcasing a different Australian wine region each week. “We send out seven vials of wine from the region and have winemakers attend to guide people through the region and wines,” he says. “It is a way for guests to plan their next regional trip and also to try wines that they normally wouldn’t select from the local bottle shop.”

The classes have been very popular, with the sessions continuing into early 2021, and regions like Rutherglen, New England, Swan Valley and Queensland coming up in the program.

With Christmas approaching, Boden has his festive food and wine matches all sorted. “I will be starting off the festivities with some South Aussie sparkling from Deviation Road and Grey-Smith,” he says, “Then on the Christmas lunch table it’ll be the 2019 Max & Me Mirooloo Road Riesling with Mum’s crunchy noodle salad, and 2013 Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock Nebbiolo with salty pork crackling and roasted veggies.”