“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)





30 March 2015


The Homeless Grapes have been fermenting for about five days since their cold soak came to an end when the tanks were permitted to gradually warm. They've been getting four skin plunges a day from the Yangarra Estate crew, but this morning some of the staff from the Hutt Street Centre called by to donate some muscle.

Hutt Street Centre CEO Ian Cox with manager Danielle Bayard. This remarkable charity helps feed, clothe and shower Adelaide's homeless folks. They make hundreds of meals a day.

Jock Harvey of Chalk Hill Wines donated the grapes which were picked by over ninety volunteers a week ago. The gang at Vinomofo sold the wine in advance - the Hutt Street Folks already have their $36,000 cheque. Peter Fraser volunteered to make the wine at Yangarra Estate, and Torresan Estate will bottle and package it, all gratis.

Vendangeur Marjolaine Defrance, a Bordeaux winemaker working vintage at Yangarra, tests the sugar level in the Homeless Grapes must. The fermenters are sitting at around three degrees Baumé and ten per cent alcohol, so they'll probably end up around fourteen alcohols. Last night's unusually warm weather, and more coming, will see the ferments finish faster than first thought. 

There's a chance the wine will be ready to press from its skins on Thursday, before the Easter break. You can see the skins' degree of decay in this shot, with wine bubbling below. 

Now there's plenty of alcohol present, the must is extracting the alcohol-soluble aromatics from the skins. These are more base and tannic than the pretty florals which came off in the cold soak, and will include the earthy, tarry, leathery flavours and aromas, and maybe some aniseed or licorice ... we'll soon know. 

After pressing, the wine will go into a range of fresh and seasoned French oak barrels, and the spent skins will follow the stalks and detritus removed earlier to the mulch heap, where they'll be turned and cured to become lovely chocolatey fertiliser for vintages yet to come.

Hutt Street Centre folks Danielle, Ian, Janine Mildren and Lynda Forrest ... watch DRINKSTER for reports on the pressing and the flavours the crew has extracted before any wood begins to have its spicy, mellowing influence. We're all very proud of this endeavour!

World Cooperage is branding the new barrels they've donated ... beautiful fresh barrels like this can give a range of flavours that stretch from lemony through ginger to caramel and toast ... in the end, however, most of those used will be mature, seasoned barrels so the new wood influence does not overwhelm the fruit flavours.


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