At The Bar with Ricky Ponting

Former Australian cricketer and now coach and commentator Ricky Ponting might be regarded as one of the best batsmen of all time, but away from the game, he’s found a passion in wine via Ponting Wines. He and his wife Rianna have teamed with South Australian award-winning winemaker Ben Riggs to develop a range that’s premium ranked and a global success story in the making; with distribution sealed in India and the UK so far.

Ponting will appear at the Good Food and Wine Show at Melbourne Convention Centre today between 3 and 5pm [that’s Friday 31st May]; with a stand celebrating the hard work behind the brand Ponting Wines.

Attendees not only get a chance to sample the wines, they can have a quick chat with the cricket legend about his foray into winemaking and what it takes to craft a descent drop. He’s about to take off to the USA for the T20 in New York and Caribbean on Monday.

Australian winemaker Ben Riggs is known for his excellent craftsmanship. Together with Ponting they’ve created 11 wines so far; but it’s the Ponting 366 that’s designed to celebrate Ricky Ponting’s extraordinary career. It’s a testimony to the 168 Tests, 13,378 runs and 41 magnificent centuries – a classy blend of  Shiraz and Cabernet from the famous regions of McLaren Vale and the Coonawarra.

“We launched our brand on the day Victoria went into lockdown in 2020,” reflects Ricky Ponting.

“We’ve broadened the range in the past four years, and it’s been a quick and exciting journey for us ever since,” he says.

“A big part of our business plan was that Ponting Wines captures stories about my wine journey with my wife Rianna and that others reflect me. We have four wines from Tasmania which tie back to where I am originally from and salutes my upbringing” says Ponting.

He says he met with many winemakers before deciding Riggs was the one he wanted to collaborate with, visiting him in South Australia on many occasions to make sure the partnership was one he felt connected to.

“The focus was always to create premium wines, and Ben Riggs is the man for the job,” he says.

“We have just signed a big distributor in India and the UK and domestically, yes things aren’t easy at the moment with premium goods, but we’re proud of where we have come from and where we’re at. I am sure things will start to pick up,” says Ponting.

It was his wife Rianna who introduced Ponting to wine when they first started dating in their 20s.

“There was never a bottle of wine at the dinner table when I was growing up,” says Ponting.

“To this day, I don’t think my Dad has ever had a glass of wine in his life, and Mum would have sipped on a couple of glasses of chardonnay but it’s never been a big part of their world,” he says.

“I was brought up as a beer and BBQ family and even my friends and cricket mates in Tasmania can’t believe I have my own wine business, it’s very foreign to them,” says Ponting.


I was born and bred in Tasmania and moved to the mainland at the age of 26 for sport. I met Rianna when she was living in Wollongong and studying and I made the move from Launceston to Wollongong to be with her. We then moved to Sydney for 10 years and post-retirement we have been in Melbourne it’s better suited to my lifestyle than Sydney. Sydney felt more hectic for me and the lifestyle very competitive as well.  The feeling I got in Sydney is the neighbours would look over your fence to see what kind of car you’ve got, whereas in Melbourne, the neighbours look over your fence to see if you need anything.

My first date with Rianna was at The Waterfront at Crown Melbourne – it’s now called The Atlantic. I didn’t know much about wine on that date, but knew she loved a chardonnay. I looked at the wine list in front of me, and I liked this girl and tried to impress her. I ordered $350 bottle of Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay. When you are on your first date and start with a bottle that expensive, there’s no coming back from there. I dug myself a nice deep hole from the first date.


I had never spent much time in McLaren Vale and it’s the most underrated regions in the world. I love it down there. I recommend doing wine tours and find an air b & b and take it all in.  Tasmania is another place I’d recommend.


That has changed over the years.  Rianna and I drink a lot of chardonnay and now I am more into the Shiraz. I like winding down at night and having a glass of red with dinner and one before bed. This Sunday before I head overseas, we’ll have a roast pork and drink chardonnay, a pinot noir and then a shiraz.


New York for 10 days for the T20 World Cup and the Caribbean.

A little place we love in Armadale – it’s called Albert’s Wine Bar – a little hole in the wall near the station. A cool spot. And lots of great wines to choose from.

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