“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”


DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)


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28 September 2016

WINE AS A LUXURY GOOD [vs. BAD]


Selling luxury goods: 'Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful'
by PHILIP WHITE

"Ideology: the mistaken belief that your beliefs are neither beliefs nor mistaken." So says Eric Jarosinsky, the New York-based editor of the 'the internet's Compendium of Utopian Negation, the Nein. Quarterly,' which seems mainly composed of brilliantly witty tweets.

And Jarosinsky's lecture tours.

Australia borrows a lot of its English from the United States, which borrowed it from Britain, Africa and Europe. Even Germany. Grovelling to American wine buyers like the sly Dan Philips in the mid-nineties led some of us to adopt a word he thought was kinda cute: artisanal. Suddenly we had artisanal winemakers. And then we had the Young Artisans. And then Philips and his Grateful Palate exercise vanished back into the US, leaving millions of dollars of dept and a herd of terrified artisanal winemakers who suddenly faced life without the support of the US critic Robert Parker Jr., to whom Philips had been the conduit.

The adherents to this tetchy artisanal uprising really did seem mistakenly to believe that their beliefs were neither beliefs nor mistaken.

Being philosophically more of the Nein than artisanal school, it was with a certain glee, about a decade back, that I greeted the news from Barossa winemakers Charlie Melton, Big Bob McLean and Peter Scholz, that they would henceforth be called The Old Fartisans as they drove around together drinking beer and delivering wine from the back of a huge Nissan four-wheeler. More than anywhere else, I seemed to find them in the Mallalla pub, which was about as far from the Barossa as that particular export drive extended.

I write so loudly on this as I was always of the perhaps mistaken belief that an artisan was an artificer, someone who spent their lives mass-producing copies of great artworks and fitments that their customers could never afford in the orginal version. Like, for example, the dude with the plaster works, turning out thousands of metre-high copies of Michaelangelo's David, all sharing the deformities inherent in the crafter's imperfect mould.

The artisanal appellation seems to have mercifully waned with the memory of Philips. It was first replaced by the light-hearted ridicule of the Old Fartisans, for which there's no longer much call since the death of Big Bob (below, by Milton Wordley) and the consequent return of Sholz and Melton to their vineyards and vintage sheds.

 
But all this left me with an abiding suspicion that most artisans were indeed true to their banner. As a mob, they seemed intent on reproducing endless imperfect copies of much more famous wines that they couldn't afford to drink, and their customers could never afford to buy. If, just for example, you were engaged, however deliberately, in copying the style of Penfolds Grange, there was always the nice little incentive there called potential margin.

Even Treasury Wine Estates fully understands this. Bin 389 is 'the baby Grange.'

Like, if one couldn't stretch one's skill set to the extent of, say, coming up with a new style or idea, and instead just stuck to emulating a Grange one once tasted, one could jack one's price up quite a distance past the $20-$25 bracket, especially if Dan Philips rang to say Parker had just awarded one the perfect 100-point score.

Herein lies the difference between what I consider to be 'premium' wines - not my term - and 'luxury' ones.

Like with its pricing, unique provenance, incredible mystery and what the Amurkhans who've forgotten the meaning of 'history' call 'back story,' Grange is luxury. Pure and simple. It's an original. It's unique.

While his sales figures still soar, my friend Peter Gago, chief winemaker at Penfolds, easily Treasury Wine Estates' biggest buck bang per bottle, is a tad more coy about the international luxury goods market.

Peter knows. He fills passports faster than anybody I know in the wine business, travelling the world nine months of the year, answering questions, filling glasses, visiting Grange buyers and collectors.

Things out there ain't quite such the easy breeze they have been in recent years, especially in luxuries other than very fine wine.

Not only is social media democratising the luxury goods landscape, spoiling its exclusivity for the truly loaded elites, but the terrorism business has put an end to a lot of impulsive first-class travel, the sales of really posh extravagances has dwindled, and China's top-end spend has tumbled all the way across handbags, shoes and premium malt whisky (down 40%) to Bordeaux and Burgundy. Et cetera.

As if to convince the freshly parsimonious mega-rich that everything's tickety-boo, many of the manufacturers of top-end caucasian artefacts have increased the dividends they pay their shareholders, a move which is raising increasing  derision in the markets: the pundits are saying this can't possibly go on.

Which brings me to another New York-based outfit, Milton Pedraza's Luxury Institute, and its recent white paper, 7 Rule-Breaking Moves Needed Now to Flourish in the Most Perplexing Luxury and Retail Market Ever.

Pedraza quotes Warren Buffet: "Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful."

He suggests that while further automation, more robots and digitisation is inevitable and partly necessary at the production end, these mechanisms "are all commodities that create zero competitive advantage ...

"Playing defense in this highly complex downturn, where store traffic and sales can be down as much as 20%, will further weaken brands."

The Luxury Institute doesn't report much on the top end of the wine market, but I have always found it a handy measure of the shorter-term future of expensive wine internationally.

Like at Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey, Dom sales follow handbags.

In the face of today's downturn, Pedraza says "the reaction from most luxury and retail brands has been to shut stores, cut people, cut costs and dive deep into the trenches until the crisis passes."

This he says, is wrong. Tellingly, he urges a major rethink across the sector, and his advice is just as good for artisans as it is for the luxury brands they artifice.

While he never dares suggest tootling about drinking beer in a big 4WD to make personal deliveries, that's pretty much along the lines of his solution. It's all about people, and better, more polished and reliable personal service. Don't simply close stores, he suggests, but train your sales folks better. Retain them; slow your staff turnover. Make them happier to stay. Encourage the best of them. Reward those who offer constant, truthful, reliable attention to long-term customers: believers in the brand. Slash your numbers in head office, not the troops out on the front.

In previous reports, the Luxury Institute has repeatedly warned that there's no point in having websites and digital mailouts unless they're kept up-to-date and the prospective client can phone a real human with a real name on a real phone number listed right there.

Repeatedly. Reliably. Intimately.

All this conveniently applies as much to the artificers as the very big companies with luxury goods. In fact, it would be wise for more of the aspirant little guys to learn conversely from the leviathans: grow and reward your front line troops rather than stacking head office with psychopaths in suits.

And never decry Peter Gago's tireless regime of travelling the world every minute of every day that you're not at home touring vineyards, making new wine or blending maturing batches. Be personal and absolutely reliable; tell the truth.

This may all seem pretty obvious, but there's little point in being fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful if your ideology involves the mistaken belief that your beliefs are neither beliefs nor mistaken.

Penfolds photos (top and bottom) both by Philip White

27 September 2016

NGERINGA NEWIES RING BIO-D BELLS

Ngeringa Adelaide Hills Rosé 2015 
($28; 13% alcohol; screw cap) 

Spring is all rosés at Casa Blanca. There is no more felicitous a range of drinks, the rosey name being a style or a colour or even a mood; an evocation more than a variety. I prefer the paler ones: those more the russetty colour of brown onion skins or the evil glimmer the Europeans call, in a swillion dialects, pheasant eye. Which being colourblind, I should never dare to mention, although I admit to peering deeply into nearly enough. Rosés, I mean.

I'm scared of the ones that look like raspberry cordial: they usually taste like that, with a bucket of sugar. Ew. Generally a waste of good Grenache.

This one seems the pale autumnal colour of the best ones of Provence, where they spoil them with dodgy cork. None of that here: that screwcap gives you a drink as fresh as a daisy, and as dry as an everlasting one. From biodynamic vineyards on the slopes of Mount Barker - the mountain, not the villa rash - it smells like those sunbaked shoulders in summer, or a barn there stacked with hessian sacks of grain.   

Drink. It is a sinuous thing of perfect viscosity: its texture dances a dainty minuet with its flavour: neither dominates. It does not taste like raspberry cordial. So we're nearly there and rosé is not the sort of drink we should be talking about as if we were taxonomers. Which the world needs, just by the way, taxonomers. Plenty of work down that bright alley. Off you go. 

Don't serve it too cold. Fifteen  minutes in a well-stacked icebucket will do, then recline and let it stack you. Being a sardine tragic, trust me to suggest a thin slice of lightly-toasted ciabatta with a Sardine Pollastrini Di Anzio Piccanti all' Olio d'Olivia, which I found in the excellent new Romeo's IGA supermarket in McLaren Vale. Best sardine around, that bugger. Sardines. Toast. Veranda. Dappled light. Conversation. Talk politics and religion. 

Ngeringa Single Vineyard Adelaide Hills Sangiovese 2015 
($35; 12.5% alcohol; screw cap) 

Really good Sangiovese reminds me of the summer, too. Getting off the crammed schoolbus with all its pimpled sweatbags on a dead-still sunbaked afternoon in Kanmantoo to discover Mum in the kitchen with water boiling on the woodfire stove and chook feathers and gizzards everywhere, preparing the week's meat for the mob. Big welcoming smile on her bonnie face; wiping her hands on her pinnie and pushing her hair back so there's just a wee smudge of chook blood on her forehead when she leans over for that wet motherly kiss. What I'd do for one more of those. 

Sange has that very peasanty in-your-face aroma, which brings comfort to an old hillbilly with an empty stomach, no money and no Mum. But such thoughts seem to deter everybody who's never smelled such stuff or been kissed by a mother with bits of raw chook and wet feathers all over her so pretend you never read any of that. 

This glass also exudes lovely fresh licorice and something along the lines of Bickford's Essence of Coffee and Chicory with an appetising edge of fine ground white pepper. Maybe blackberries, but with the dark British Racing Green hue of their leaves as much as the delectable fruit. It drinks like an asp sliding down the throat: let it go, miss the last grab of its tail, and it's in you, looking for the best bit to bite. Which it does with deadly accuracy, and you don't feel a thing. It's a slick, slippery trick of a wine. It's what people who once knew called a delicacy. Bring out the spaghetti vongole with the the fresh-chopped Italian parsley and have it after the sardines. Now we can talk. 

Ngeringa Single Vineyard Adelaide Hills Syrah 2013 
($50; 14% alcohol; screw cap) 

Friggin' talk? Can we talk? Too late to ask, now we're into such deep, dark water. Not waving, taking a selfie. Press send. Then down we go. I reckon I can smell the midnight brine, the moder dy, in this wine. A still, moody moonlit night with no herrings catching in the north Atlantic. So you can put your feet up on the gunnel with a whisky and smoke. And dream of land life while the withered norseman skipper sucks his briar, stares you in the eye and says "I am some of the best sea captains in the world." One dreams of croft bliss, soft nuts and raisins, nutmeg and cinnamon, citrus rind and suet. It has semi-dried figs, too, which my tattered organoleptics seem to appreciate more as the years fall off and sink. 

Many of these fragrances remind me of the best wines from the oldest rocks around Greenock, but here they're followed by the sort of whippet-slim palate that only a higher, cooler, Mount Barkerly sort of a site can slide into one. And this slides, believe me. When they invent black quicksilver, it'll be like this.

There are a lot of so-called 'natural'  wines about, many of which enjoy the shelf life of unpasteurised milk. These beautiful biodynamic zingers are not like that. These are like wine should be.

25 September 2016

WALTER JAMES 1974: THE TASTE OF WINE






















I suspect that along with Osmar White,  Walter James was Australia's best writer on 
wine.  The erudite David Wynn hired Walter to write the annual Wynn Winegrowers 
Diary. Here's Walter's introduction to the the 1974 edition. Click image to enlarge.


2016 WRAPPED; MAYNARD LOOKS SOUTH

Fresh in from Mount Mingus comes (1) news of a stinking good vintage at Jennifer and Maynard James Keenan's Merkin Vineyardz at Jerome, Arizona, and (2) said gentleman's announcement that his Puscifer will once again invade Australia during our vintage. 

Here we see preparatory exercises in froat preparation. A bloke can't simply walk out there and scream for his supper without preliminary exercise ...



"We dropped all blocks to 1 cluster per shoot," Maynard writes. "Roughly 8-12 clusters max per vine. Liking the uni-lateral as far as balance between numbers and actual tastes. A great year overall. 

"Our decision to drop fruit to 1 Cluster Per Shoot (1CPS) has yielded some wonderful results. We're not aware of anyone in the state that has taken this approach as extensively as we have. It means cutting your yields in half to most people. Most can't afford to do that. We would argue that as a new unproven region we can't afford not to.

"Part of developing what is known as Terroir is identifying the balance between your strengths and limitations. Our strengths are our fantastic soils and our elevations. Volcanic, ancient limestone deposits, caliche, rocky river deposits, and our diurnal swings due to our elevation.

"The hurdles are the late Spring frost, the hail, and most significantly, our monsoon season and all the humidity it brings. Our approach is to roll the dice with the frosts. Frost fans on sites that allow them, rocky terraces or rocks piled beneath the vines on others. And because we drop fruit to 1CPS in many cases the frost is just a nuisance rather than a devastation. We were gonna drop some of those shoots and flowers anyway. Many of our choices in varietal come out a little early. So provided the Spring frosts aren't devastatingly cold for extended or repeated periods of time, those vines are now slightly ahead of the growing game. Sometimes by as much as 4 weeks ahead.

"Because we shoot thin and drop fruit during what's known as Green Harvest, the vines aren't wasting any energy on a large crop. All energy is focused on canopy and the 1CPS training. Steady, even ripening during the day, and the cool nights provide rest for the vine. Historically with cropping 3 to 4 tons of fruit per acre, the vine struggles to ripen all those clusters. Once the monsoons show up, the pH's start to rise, the vines start to struggle, bunch rot is right around the corner. For most that means more sprays or loss of fruit to bunch rot. Many many more details on this. I'm just scratching the surface.

"Basically what we see with our approach is that the fruit comes in where it should but at lower ALC levels and with the acid intact. Medium to high TA (total acidity) Reasonable pH levels (3.30-3.60 pH) Brix (sugar levels) between 22.5-24.5 and brown phenolically ripe seeds and complex favors. With pristine fruit coming from the vineyards, we are free to experiment in the cellar since we aren't fighting with mediocre fruit that needs extra work. No rot, no high out of balance pH and unreasonably high TA, no high Brix that draws extra fruit flies and risk of stuck ferments.

"Basically it is a great vintage. Correction. It was a great vintage. We were wrapped at 90 tons on Sept 7th. Still some processing and pressing to do, and some 90 day extended macerations occurring. But time for a beer."  






24 September 2016

THE MAN WITH NO NAME TAG

L-r: me, Ox Hardy, Mouse Hesketh, Merrill, Thellie and Max. Schubert. Shit we played up!

20 September 2016

GLENTHORNE FARM BACK ON FULL ALERT

Patritti winemakers James Mongell and Ben Heide in the 100+ years old Grenache vines in the Marion Vineyard, the last one in Adelaide's southern suburbs ... these blokes and their crew have worked wonders rejuvenating these old soldiers ...   photo Philip White

Fighting still for vineyards and green in the burbs: 'round and around we go til we all fall down
by PHILIP WHITE

There's a wine dancing around my memory like a sylph. I drank it three days back, on the other side of a hundred others, yet still it flickers on the edge of my flavour vision, and leaps out from behind things to surprise and remind me.

Unlike the popular melee of tinctures straining to be bigger and blacker than their genetics permit, it's a cheeky, almost naive sort of a drink. It has the most disarmingly honest demeanour. But beneath its slightly awkward adolescent front, it has the dark, determined glint of the long-term survivor.

Given our fashionable misconception that ancient vines always give blacker, more sinister flavours than others, it shows no immediate sign that it's from vines over a century old: vines which haven't had a drop of irrigation in over a decade.

It's the new release from the last vineyard remaining amongst the suburbia on Adelaide's southern plain: the Patritti Marion Vineyard Grenache 2015.

It has few of the steam-train tannins of much Barossa and Clare Grenache, but is not as slick and dense in its form as many of the silky cherry-and-prune beauties we're now seeing from further south in McLaren Vale.

While freshly-bottled and thus a tad deceptive, it has enough tannin to carry it for an easy decade. That'll gradually subside, and what is now a cheery prune/maraschino/marello/pomegranate and redcurrant delight will harmonise and swell. It's gorgeous. With its current layer of bitter cooking chocolate, it's an adults-only Cherry Ripe you can drink.

Ideally, it'll be better unwrapped and bitten in a year.

Apart from a few Shiraz, the single hectare has 1,600 ungrafted pre-phylloxera Grenache vines, all on their original roots. Selectively hand-picked, it produced 900 six-packs. The wine will be available for sale at the Patritti tasting and sales rooms from Saturday October 1.

Expect it to be on allocation; it's a measly $28! Get in, or get out.

Bacchus only knows how many folks drive past those Oaklands Road vines each day, unaware that while they're worrying about kids/mortgage/shopping/rooting/traffic/flood insurance or whatever, they're a stone's throw from the oldest productive vineyard known in any city on Earth.

Of course the famous Clos Montmartre below the Sacré Cœur in Paris has several million more passers-by, and still produces small amounts of Pinot noir and Gamay wine made by locals and visitors during the annual Fête des Vendanges, but those vines weren't planted until 1933.

There'd been vineyards there since the Romans called Paris 'Lutece', but any that remained had been killed by phylloxera by the 1920s and the ground left lie fallow, the daintiest morsel for developers. Typically, it was a bunchof artists that lobbied to save the block and re-establish the vineyard. A constant replanting program on phylloxera-resistant rootstocks ensures any vines still vulnerable to the infected ground are replaced as they fade.

Most of the profits, or the wines - always labelled by local artists - go to charity.

Just between you and me, they're not a patch on this Marion Grenache.

Since that tiny Montmartre bastion was saved, the Parisian interest has intensified. A group of militant winemakers, Les Vignerons Franciliens, has established and helps maintain 150 vineyards in and around Paris for  experimental, educational and community purposes. They won't be letting those go. Parisians know how to riot.

The Marion vines are the last remnant of the vast swathe of vineyards that spread from Skye through Penfolds Grange to the coast at Brighton and Glenelg by the time the dreaded phylloxera was chewing the roots at Montmartre.

Unlike the French thing, it wasn't a pestilent bug that ate the Adelaide vignoble, but the dreaded villa rash that replaced what Patritti winemaker James Mongell wistfully calls 'The Garden of Adelaide'.

Since they were left high and dry, isolated amongst that suburbia, the Marion vines have had two very close shaves with developers. The owner, the local Council, intended to replace them with a concrete precint of Colonel Sadness and Golden Arches fat-and-sugar emporiums in the late 'eighties. With the help of Brian Miller, who then worked for Richard Hamilton, we saved them during the Adelaide Vines charity project I engineeered with The Advertiser; Hamilton's then tended the vines and made small amounts of wine from them.

Some bright spark had another brainwave in 2004, and suggested concreting the whole joint to provide parking for 600 cars in case that many folks wanted to frolic simultaeneously in the smallish outdoor swimming pool next door. The Hamilton's arrangement had, should we say 'withered' on the vine by then, and this time it seemed more logical for those pesky heritage-aware interferists among us to ask the local winery, Patritti, to take the role.

So another nasty battle ensued, and the block was once more redeemed.

Patritti winemakers James - whose Mum, Ines, is a Patritti - and Ben Heide, have supervised a rigorous viticultural rejuvenation which now has the vines looking fitter than they have in my memory; perhaps ever.

The Patritti family has made wine in nearby Dover Gardens since the patriarch Giovanni settled there around 1926. They still run a thriving business there in their modest winery and fruit-juicing complex, but have no more vineyards on that once-lush plain.

"After a few years 
they knocked the school down, 
sent the kids further away,
sub-divided the land 
and built more houses."

Patrittis earned their own knowledge of the fickle nature of governments and their attitude to vineyards however old or significant. Their last vineyards, adjacent to the winery, were compulsorily acquired by a Labor government when the wave of housing was threatening to stifle every growing thing in the early 'seventies. Being good honest citizens very grateful to have been welcomed to Australia, they accepted the government line that a school was a good thing. They co-operated, happy to take fruit then from beautiful old vineyards just over the escarpment at Morphett Vale and further south in McLaren Vale.

When Max Schubert was dreaming of his recipe for Grange, flying back from his epiphanous post-war trip to the great wineries of Spain and Bordeaux, he decided that half his Grange grapes would come from those Morphett Vale vineyards in the water-retentive 650+ million-year-old siltstone which simply pumped flavour.

Max loved that fruit. His first Grange, the 1951, is $45,000. But that siltstone is all under concrete and tar now; the only plantable bit left of the entire geological group is disappearing beneath intense Tupperware Tuscany at Seaford Heights as I write. That travesty seemed to be the deposit the concerned winegrowers of McLaren Vale had to pay Labor to have the rest of the region saved by the McLaren Vale Protection Legislation.

Of the school that replaced those last Dover Gardens vineyards, James Mongell says with unusual bitterness "After a few years they knocked the school down, sent the kids further away, sub-divided the land, and built more houses."

There's still one spread of farmland left alive amongst those suburbs in the south: the 200 hectare Glenthorne Farm, which Wirra Wirra proprietor Greg Trott (below, by me) and I spent years with others engineering to have transferred from the CSIRO to the University of Adelaide for continuing research. Eventually, we done good.

The CSIRO agreed to keep its asking price to only $7 million, a tiny fraction of the land's true worth. The Liberal state government paid that, then passed the entire property to the University. For one whole dollar.

The deed, signed and sealed by University Vice-chancellor Mary O'Kane in 2001 says "The CSIRO has only agreed to sell the Land on the proviso that the Land will be preserved and conserved for agriculture and other related activities and will not be used for urban development."

Glenthorne Farm under another cloud ... photo Leo Davis ... to read my many articles on this Glenthorne Farm battle, use the search box at top left

The University solemnly agreed that it would ensure the land was "preserved, conserved and used for Agriculture, Horticulture, Oenology, Viticulture, Buffer Zones and as Community Recreation Area, and is available for Project Research Activities, University Research Activities, Education Activities and operating a Wine Making Facility."

The deed continues:

"The University covenants with the Minister that it will not at any time hereafter ... undertake or permit Development or seek to undertake Development of the Land for uses other than those specified." 

Here it comes! From Trott's View (Trott, White, Brooks, Campbell; Wakefield Press 2007; photographed by Milton Wordley, Christo Reid, Don Brice and Eric Algra)
 
This would seem to preclude the University from even seeking to develop this precious stretch of ground. Which was our intention, when drafting the initial notes for the deed. It repeats ad infinitum: no urban development.

The University attempted a major subdivision before the ink had been on that deed for one single decade. I spent most of the late 2000s in daily warfare, stopping the University's plan to flog off enough blocks for 1,200 houses. That was its opening effort. Only after tireless public and private struggle was that august institution forced to honour the deed it seemed to have lost or forgotten.

Tractor action: including blocking all the main roads south with many, many tractors, the good citizens of McLaren Vale went to great lengths to save Seaford Heights, but ended up stymied by Deputy Premier John Rau, Attorney-General, Minister for Justice Reform, 
. 
Minister for Planning, Minister for Industrial Relations, Minister for Child Protection Reform, Minister for the Public Sector, Minister for Consumer and Business Services and Minister for the City of Adelaide. When he came south to announce his fait accompli, supported somehow by The Friends of The Willunga Basin, he had this sign hung on the door. He looked quite surprised when we walked in. Then he told us what he was doing, whether anybody liked it or not. NOT.


I've been waiting for the University to try on another one, with Labor's  determination to fill the southern electorates with grateful mortgage-bound voters and Shoppies happy to get a house. The best hint was when government excluded Glenthorne Farm from its much-lauded McLaren Vale 'Protection' legislation those few short years ago.

It ignored the region's official Geographical Indication boundary, which, after years of expensive negotiation, is recognised in international trade law. Instead, Mr Rau drew the boundary for the new 'Protection' law south of Glenthorne Farm. Which means that outside the strict limits of the deed, the Farm's not protected.  

Only Labor, through Rau, can release the university from the solemn vow it signed and sealed when it agreed to accept the whole goddam farm for a dollar in exchange for using it creatively and sensibly, with the highest regard for the community. As far as I understand English, the University cannot seek to undertake development until minister Rau agrees to change the deed. Even then that beautifully written document insists "unless such other use or Development (excluding Urban Development which will not be approved) is approved in writing by a Minister acting as agent of the Crown."

I believe the University's new 'detailed concept plan' has hit the Cabinet table.

Which means, in the spirit of good sense and my own community's well-being, for the ghosts of dear Trott and now his departed daughter Emily, for the bonnie children yet to be born, it's time for folks like me to re-arm. I'm not dead yet.

Apart from Montmartre, the B&Ws above are from the Patritti archive. Marion Vineyards and Rau shot by me, like this one of James Mongell, his Mum Ines [nee Patritti] and Ben Heide ... the Tractor Action's by James Hook ... one below by somebody very brave ... just never forget: we bought this land for the University.WE ARE THE STAKEHOLDERS! 





16 September 2016

ADELAIDE HILLS GET BIG RINSE

The Onkaparinga yesterday at Clarendon ... the Mount Lofty Ranges/Adelaide Hills are having the wettest spring any of the old-timers can recall ... this means the 2018 vintage will be the one to wait for ... photo Mick Wordley ... and here below is a lucky mob of us having lunch a bit further downstream on a finer day ... Off Piste Tours can get you in here in good weather, otherwise it's a mighty climb through the National Park ... but you wouldna wanted to try that on yesterday ... the Gorge was like a milkshake!