Talisman Wines’ vineyards in Geographe, WA.

How did the idea for Ponting Wines come about?
Since I finished playing, I’ve been able to explore and enjoy wine a bit more; the 15 years I played international cricket you hardly had a drink, maybe a beer at the end of a test match or a glass of wine with dinner leading up to a game, but hardly ever anything in between. I’ve known [ex-Moët Hennessy sales director] David Krenich for six or seven years and it was he who called me to say, ‘I think there’s a little niche in the market for you and a brand’. I talked to Rianna about it for a few weeks and we thought it’d be a really good thing for us to be able to do together. If it was just going to be me I don’t think it’d work. Even with the name, Ponting Wines, it’s not just about me – it’s about the whole family.

How would you like to see the brand evolve?
There’s no way we ever expected to come into the industry and go ‘bang’ with all sorts of record sales. Ideally it will just be constant build-up and growth for, well, let’s hope 10, 20 – even 30 or 40 years. I’d love if, in years to come, my son could be looking after this business. To have longevity within the industry would be fantastic. We’ll focus the next couple of years on growing the domestic side, then potentially look at taking the brand overseas into some of the bigger cricket playing markets. The UK is an obvious one, and India’s one where wine in particular is really growing. I spend about three months in India each year and I think they still like me!  

How do you hope consumers react to and receive Ponting wines?
I want them to be enjoying the whole experience. We’ve paid a lot of attention to the
packaging and the bottling, and we have another really exciting ‘icon’ type wine that
will be released in the coming months, which we’ve gone to great lengths to get right.

I’m sure there have been a lot of people already who’ve seen we have a label; cricket
fans might’ve gone out and bought a bottle, or a six pack online or something, and I
want them to keep going back because they’ve enjoyed the experience of drinking
our wines. They’re all very, very drinkable wines and we want people to have a glass
– then be excited about having a second glass at some stage. That all comes down
to the quality of the wine, and the reason we’ve sourced fruit from these regions is
because we think we can provide exceptional, premium wines out of those regions,
and if people taste them they’ll keep coming back. If you buy directly from our
website, I love that people can have them on their doorstep in a day or two’s time;
they see the packaging is smart, open the bottle, see the wine’s good, have a drink
and love the whole experience.

Have you and Rianna uncovered some favourite food pairings for your wines?
We eat a lot of seafood in the house, a lot of fish, and try to keep ourselves healthy – the sauvignon blanc is great with fresh seafood, prawns and oysters. The pinot noir is great paired with duck. But – and I’ve said this forever – if I can sit down with a nice bit of eye fillet and a glass of shiraz, I’m pretty happy.

Was there one particular bottle that really switched you onto wine?
It was a long time ago but I was given a Peter Lehmann Stonewell Shiraz and at that point, it was the nicest wine I’d ever had. It really got me thinking about and getting into wine. When I retired, Cricket Australia gifted me a bottle of Grange for every test hundred [runs] I made during my career, of that vintage, so in 1998 I scored 600 so received six bottles of ‘98; then scored 500 in ‘99 so received five bottles, and so on. So I have a little collection in the cellar, which we’re making our way through – slowly! It’s hard to go past Grange.

Ponting Wines (starting at A$23) are available for purchase directly from pontingwines.com.au. Our top picks were the 2019 Mowbray Boy Tasmanian Pinot Noir (A$33.50) and the 2017 The Pinnacle McLaren Vale Shiraz (A$25).