“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 January 2009

2009 – ANOTHER TORRID VINTAGE HITS


ONE OF THE MANY DUST STORMS OF 2008

You Don’t Need A Weatherman

To Know Which Way The Wind Blows

by PHILIP WHITE


Nope. It’s obvious. It’s not a wind, it’s a blistering sandblast, and it’s all coming from the vast northern deserts, laden with positive ions, dust, and relentless austral severity.


The Bureau Of Meteorology in Adelaide this morning told Fran Kelly on Radio National that the heat wave which has just begun its blitz of south-eastern Australia can be expected to be hotter overall than last year’s fifteen-day record-breaker.


Daily maxima will be higher, the BoM said, and evening temperatures will not offer the respite Australia had last year: nights will be hotter, too.


The implications for the wine industry are horrendous.


As South Australia commences its second day above 44 degrees Centigrade (111.2 degrees Fahrenheit), vintners are cringing as grapes, which were just beginning veraison, bake in the blistering sun and relentless, scorching northerlies.


The hottest day recorded in South Australia was 46.1C (117F) in the brutal summer of 1939.


After the 2008 vintage, in which industrial accidents soared as the record heatwave settled in, grapes burnt in the vineyards, and wineries completely failed to handle the massive sudden inflow of rotting fruit, this writer attempted to find funding to make an industrial documentary which quizzed key winemakers about what they would do differently if such treacherous weather patterns repeated.


The idea was to distribute this DVD to all wineries, to assist with their Worst Possible Scenario planning.


The word, loud and clear, from the Wolf Blass Foundation, the obvious source of such funding: NO.


To check an Aussie dust storm in the Murray Darling Basin from last year, click here. And that one had some rain in it!


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