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Lincoln Riley

Born and raised among the vineyards of Bendigo, Victoria, Linc worked in regional venues and developed a strong interest in the wines of the region at an early age.

Then he moved to the city and joined the very popular Donovans in St Kilda where Linc was well and truly bitten by the wine bug and developed a particular love of Italian varietals.

Kevin Donovan gave Linc his first crack at running a wine list at age 23 and so started the vinous journey, a stint in London along with travels through many of the great regions of Europe laid further foundations to Linc’s ongoing passion for all things vinous. But in particular food orientated varietals such as Sangiovese.

Since 1998, Linc, has had vast experience in the wine and food industry, both in Australia and Europe. This included positions at Hakkasan and Boxwood Cafe in London and most recently as Head Sommelier at Taxi Dining Room and now the iconic Stokehouse on St Kilda beach.

Through pounding the boards in a number of great but all very different restaurants, Linc decided he wanted to make a wine. The wines he was passionate about making were those that are food friendly and above all are interesting to the guest. Linc wanted to make a wine, that he loved selling on the restaurant floor.

So in 2007, with long-term sommelier and friend Adam Foster they decided to make a wine together. They had a very clear vision: a food-friendly wine based on the versatility of Sangiovese. This is when they established Foster e Rocco. They made their first wine at Syrahmi, building it from the ground up, with fermentation in both stainless steel and a mixture of older French oak barrels.

In 2009, Linc received The Age Good Food Guide Wine Service Award and also Wine List of the Year in which he created for Taxi. In 2008, he was awarded with the prestigious Judy Hirst Australian Sommelier of the Year at the Fine Wine Partners/Gourmet Traveller Wine Awards.

He believes his role as a sommelier and a winemaker is an educational one, and has watched as diners have become increasingly receptive to new tastes and grape varietals. Linc is one of Melbourne’s most highly regarded sommelier’s, known particularly for his imaginative and unpretentious approach to creating seasonal wine lists. Lincoln Riley has earned much praise and respect from industry peers for his extensive knowledge and attention to service.

Now four vintages of Foster e Rocco on, the partnership and the wines are stronger than ever.