“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)





11 October 2012


Ray Beckwith and Thelma Schubert at Ray's 100th birthday celebration at Kalimna Homestead in February.  Ray made a passionate speech about his discovery of the importance of pH in winemaking before the Second World War.  It was Ray who appointed Max Schubert (1915 – 1994) , Thellie's husband, to his job as chief winemaker for Penfolds at The Grange, Magill, in 1948 .... photo Richard Humphrys

A century is a long time

Genius wine scientist Ray Beckwith has left home. 

Since his 100th birthday in February, Ray has gradually, reluctantly, had to admit that he’s not quite up to looking after himself with the dignity he’d prefer, so he’s has moved up the street into Barossa Village aged care.

“I need a lot more nanna naps now,” he admits with a shy grin.

Ray had been receiving a carer's pension for looking after his disabled son Jim, who's in his seventies.

The man who wrote the recipe for modern winemaking worldwide had been hospitalized three weeks ago.  He finds his energy levels too low to waste them pushing his zimmer frame around, and is preferring to spend whatever vim he has on thinking, talking, and savoring a glass of good red with his meals.

His neighbor and friend, Liz Nash, visits him daily.  “In hospital, he was adamant that he was going to be ‘home any day’,” she said. “Then early last week, he quietly told me that he had reached the age where ‘others’ were now making decisions for him.  He appears to have accepted that he will live out his days in care … mind you he knows exactly how many days he’s been in the home.”

If you’d care to drop Ray a note – he loves receiving mail - or feel inclined to send him a bottle of your best, please do so.  He’s never been a big fan of what he politely calls  ‘the wine that comes in a box’!  

It’s Barossa Village, John Atze Parade, Nuriootpa, South Australia 5355.

We don’t want our greatest living winemaking treasure feeling left out!

Ray and Peter Gago at the 100th at Kalimna ... photo Philip White

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