erobertparker.com February 2012
Wall Street Journal, September 1, 2011
House and Garden Magazine, July 2005
Wine Advocate Issue 162, December 2005
Food & Wine Magazine
Owner and founder, Benjamin Hammerschlag, has devoted the past 16 years to finding the absolute best wines that Australia has to offer. Most of the family-owned wineries in the portfolio are located in South Australia with a focus on the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale. Hammerschlag seeks out young, talented winemakers that are producing rich and beautifully textured wines of restrained power – wines with finesse, complexity and depth. These are great wines made in a shared philosophy, which is, that at the high end, it is about harnessing the power of Australia without sacrificing balance, while at the lower end of the pricing spectrum, it is possible to produce wines of exceptional varietal character. Collectively, the Epicurean Wines portfolio represents the best expression of Australian winemaking.
Born in Washington DC, Hammerschlag grew up in the suburbs of Maryland. He graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelors of Science degree from their Hotel school.
Craving adventure and wide, open spaces, Hammerschlag ran off to the Wild West, landing in Seattle as the wine buyer for one branch of a successful grocery store called QFC. Within two years, he had developed the store into one of the top wine accounts in Washington State.
Heeding an entrepreneurial spirit, Hammerschlag began observing his customer's tastes as well as the style of the local trade. In the fall of 1999, he took a 3-week, solitary trip to Australia where he sought premium wines available for import into the US market.
Upon his return, Hammerschlag remained a retailer by day while he studied importing by night. He officially severed ties with his employer as his first shipment arrived in January of 2000.
Today Epicurean Wines are distributed in forty-nine states. The portfolio focuses on South Australian properties but includes Victoria and Western Australia as well.
Benjamin Hammerschlag's family arrived in the States from Germany in the late 1800's. His great-great grandfather married a young girl by the name of Flegenheimer and joined her family's business. The Flegenheimers were New York Wine Merchants. They occupied the old Manhattan Opera house on 7th Avenue and were the first east coast company to import wine from California.
Ben's great-grandfather, Victor Hammerschlag, grew up in the business and became especially famous for his knowledge of German wines. In an unfortunate twist, prohibition put the family out of business but young Victor persevered. As soon as prohibition was revoked, he opened a wine retail shop in the Bronx achieving moderate success until the store closed with his death.
The subsequent two generations pursued other avenues until Benjamin followed in his grandfather's footsteps by attending Cornell University where he discovered his own fascination with wine. As they say, the rest is history ... but it isn't just yet. It's history in the making as Hammerschlag continues to grow his import company, Epicurean Wines, here in the United States.