Q&A with Halliday

In conversation with Halliday's new editor, Anna Webster

By J'aime Cardillo

7 Mar, 2022

We've had a changing of the guard here at Halliday. After more than 11 years at the helm, founding editor Amelia Ball has moved on. We would like to thank her for leaving an incredible legacy, for shaping the brand alongside James, and for always delivering trusted and thought-provoking content to our readers.

Stepping into the role of editor at Halliday is food and wine writer Anna Webster. Get to know her here.

Anna Webster and her son Teddy.Anna Webster and her son Teddy.

H. Tell us a bit about yourself. 
AW. I'll start with a fun fact: I’m a descendant of John Barton Hack – one of the first (if not the first) winemakers in South Australia (circa 1830s), so wine is in my blood. I have too many uni degrees. I was a competitive snowboarder when I was younger and still love the mountains. I’m an avid reader. Japan is my favourite country – I’ve visited six times now – the food, culture, just everything about it, it’s like nowhere else on earth. I’ve always, always loved food and wine. The only thing that brings me more joy is my 16-month-old son, Theodore (aka Teddy).

H. Can you tell us about your experience in the food and wine industry?
AW. I can attribute a great deal of my wine knowledge to working at Melbourne wine bar Toorak Cellars, which I did while I trying to establish myself as a food and wine writer in 2015. Over the years I’ve continued to write (mostly for Good Food, print and online and as a reviewer for the Good Food Guide) while also working in editorial and digital content creation for institutions like Broadsheet, the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival and REVEL (behind Pinot Palooza). When I originally joined the team at Hardie Grant it was to produce the Dan Murphy’s magazine, but I’ve been with Halliday since I returned from maternity leave in late 2021.

H. How does it feel to be the new editor of Halliday?
AW. It’s a total dream, and it feels like the natural cumulation of my passion and experience so I’m really excited. Amelia Ball has left enormous shoes to fill but I hope to do her and the role justice.

H. Stepping into the role, what are you most excited about?
AW. Getting a younger audience pumped about wine. Wine is the best, and the more of it you drink the more you discover just how incredible it is.

H. What’s your favourite wine or wine variety?
AW. It’s a tie between pinot noir and cool-climate chardonnay, although I’m obsessed with gamay (especially jubey, Beaujolais-style gamay) and grower Champagne. I’ll also never say no to anything skinsy or a little eclectic – I love ‘natural’ wine, it’s so interesting.

H. Where’s your favourite place to enjoy a wine?
AW. Wherever I’m with people who’ll appreciate it as much as I do.

H. When you’re not working, how do you like to spend your time?
AW. With my partner, Tosh, and Teddy. Probably at the park.

Blockquote Section Icon
It’s a tie between pinot noir and cool-climate chardonnay, although I’m obsessed with gamay (especially jubey, Beaujolais-style gamay) and grower Champagne. I’ll also never say no to anything skinsy or a little eclectic...
H. What’s your ultimate food and wine pairing?
AW. It’s hard to go past Chablis and oysters, or vin jaune and comté, although the tempura and Champagne I once had on a work trip to Japan was pretty ridiculous.

H. What’s your dream wine to try?
AW. Any and all old vintages from the iconic Burgundy domaines – Romanée-Conti, Leflaive, Dujac, Armand Rousseau, Henri Jayer… 

H. Can you pinpoint a particular moment that made you fall in love with food and wine?
AW. Oh gosh, not really – I can’t remember ever not loving it! There are a few standout food and wine-related memories, though: Trying Crittenden Estate’s Cri de Coeur savagnin for the first time; comparing tonkatsu at Tonki and Butagumi in Tokyo with my partner; eating pig ears with the late Jonathon Gold at Dainty Sichuan; trawling the markets in Lyon, France with my best girlfriend; exploring the gardens at the Agrarian Kitchen in Tasmania with Alain Passard…gosh life was sweet before Covid.

H. How important is wine when it comes to food and dining?
AW. It's possible to enjoy one without the other but there’s no doubt that good wine makes everything better.

H. What’s your advice when it comes to wine?
AW. Trust your palate and drink what you find delicious. There’s no right or wrong.

H. What’s your guilty pleasure drink?
AW. I don’t know if it counts as a guilty pleasure but if I’m not drinking wine I’ll drink beer, and the less flavour it has the better. Wine and drinks writer Mike Bennie introduced me to Asahi style-free in Japan – for the uninitiated, it’s essentially alcoholic mineral water. Superb! I’ll also always say yes to a margarita. 

H. Is there a wine that changed your life?
AW. There are a few that will stay with me, for being either exceptional or surprising or both. Moreau Naudet and Raveneau Chablis, the above-mentioned Cri de Coeur savagnin, and Didier Dagueneau Silex – I did not know sauvignon blanc could taste like this!