Top sommeliers join the Tasting Australia team

Woman leans against doorframe
Tasting Australia: Sommelier Meira Harel joins the creative team
Two South Australian top sommeliers will join the Tasting Australia presented by RAA Travel creative team in the role of Drinks Curators for the 2023 event.

Banjo Harris Plane and Meira Harel – husband and wife duo – will lead the beverage program, taking the helm from outgoing Drinks Curator Nick Stock.

Both widely recognised as leading beverage authorities in Australia, the couple relocated to Adelaide in 2019. They bring with them extensive wine and beverage knowledge from around the world and experience working at some of Australia’s top restaurants.

Meira, originally from Israel, was named ‘Sommelier of the Year’ by The Age Good Food Guide in 2016. Then working as sommelier and restaurant manager for Melbourne’s The Town Mouse and The Lake House. Now happily settled in South Australia. Meira is General Manager of hospitality group Another Kind. Portfolio includes some of Adelaide’s leading hospitality venues – Press Food and Wine, Peel Street Restaurant and Leigh Street Wine Room. 

Banjo, who was awarded the ‘Best Sommelier in Australia’ twice over during his five-year stint at Melbourne’s internationally acclaimed Attica. He also opened two CBD hotspots of his own – Capitano and Bar Liberty. Banjo is also the founder of Good Pair Days, Australia’s most personalised online wine business.

Minister for Tourism, Zoe Bettison said Tasting Australia is an icon on the state’s events calendar, attracting tourists from around the country and the globe.

“On behalf of the Tasting Australia presented by RAA Travel team, I thank Nick Stock for his contribution to the festival and the state in his role as Drinks Curator over the last four years. I now welcome Meira and Banjo, who will be a wonderful addition to the Tasting Australia creative team and to the evolution of the festival program in 2023,” Minister Bettison said.

“South Australia’s food and beverage scene is the best in the country and Tasting Australia provides a platform to showcase this world-class industry on the national and global stage, whilst driving visitation to our state.”

Meira and Banjo round out the festival’s creative team. They will be joining Co-Festival Directors Karena Armstrong and Darren Robertson. Also alongside Food Curator Emma McCaskill. The pair said it was an honour to join the team and continue the legacy left by former Drinks Curator Nick Stock.

“South Australia has some of the most unique and diverse offerings in the world – not only in wine but in spirits, beer and the non-alcoholic space,” says Meira Harel.

Banjo looks forward to assembling an exciting line-up of beverage stars from across Australia and the globe.

“In our role as Drinks Curators, Banjo and I can’t wait to continue to showcase the state’s extensive beverage offering to the world and create an innovative drinks program that shines a light on local producers.”

“Between Meira and I, we are assembling a line-up of beverage stars from big names to boutique producers from South Australia and beyond,” Banjo Harris Plane said.

“We want to continue to showcase great beverages and tell the stories of the people who create them.”

“It has been an honour to help shape the festival’s beverage program and showcase drinks in all their diversity. I look forward to seeing where the new team takes it next.”

Nick Stock

Banjo and Meira take the reins from Nick Stock who has been involved with Tasting Australia since 2017, leading the festival’s beverage program as Drinks Curator since 2019.

Tasting Australia is presented by RAA Travel and will take place across Adelaide and regional South Australia.

28 April – 7 May 2023

The full program will be revealed early December 2022.


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