“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 December 2017


Ian Hickinbotham: best of the 1929 vintage ... photo Milton Wordley

Hick joins brilliant rivals and mates Max, Becky, Wynn and Stephen
Ian Hickinbotham, one of Australia's most influential wine scientists, a mentor, inventor and writer, has departed.

Jenny, his daughter, sends this message: 

"I just wanted to let you know that Ian passed away at home on 29th December. He was very peaceful.  Judy and I, with the support of friends and family, cared for him over the last two weeks -  he did not want to go to hospital. 

 "Ian was able to celebrate his 64th wedding anniversary with Judith, family and friends, on 23rd December, so we were all thrilled about that, as was Ian, who had a big smile.  

"We are going to hold a Celebration of Ian's life at the Seagull’s Football Club in Battery Road Williamstown (Melbourne) at 11am on Stephen’s birthday 11th January.  Hope you can come. 

"Would you please let people know." 

While I work out how to reflect on this great man in longer form, for Ian and his deceased son Stephen were profound influences on my life with wine, I recommend you read Milton Wordley's interview with Ian. 

For a good summary of Hick's fascinating autobiography, Australian Plonky, check Kim Brebach's review

To sort some of the folk theory about the "invention" of the bladder pack, check DRINKSTER

Along with highly competitive mates like Ray Beckwith, Max Schubert and David Wynn, Ian Hickinbotham was a vital, incredibly influential cornerstone of the Australian wine of today.

Internationally, it's impossible to measure the impact Hick's work, with Beckwith's newfound knowledge and David Wynn's support, had on the, er, ahem, little matter of malolactic fermentation, just for starters.

Hick, far left, at Roseworthy Agricultural College in the '30s. His father Alan, aka Hick, founded the wine science faculty. That's Seaview founder, Ben Chaffey, in a posher blazer in the foreground. Below, my '82 photo of Stephen 'Hickie' Hickinbotham amongst the Eucalyptus regnans in the Otways, south of the Hickinbotham Family Anakie winery


Jenny Hickinbotham said...

Philip, thank you for that great obituary, love it. Just a correction, I have mis-led everyone about the proper name of the venue for Ian's Celebration of Life, it is actually called, Williamstown Football Club (Seaview), near corner Battery and Morris Road, Williamstown. Starting 11 am to 3pm. Bring a photo if you have one. People can phone me if they want more info, Jenny Hickinbotham 0438733165. Thanks again.

Richard Warland said...

RIP Hick.

I sense that few younger wine industry people, let alone drinkers, know how much they owe to Ian Hickinbotham's work.

I worked under him for one vintage at Hollydene Estate, Upper Hunter Valley, in 1973. After the strict winemaking routines of Hardys in South Australia, he taught me new ideas and we remained friends through our careers.

We had lunch at his home just 18 months ago and as always, opened a few bottles which Judy, Hick and I all thoroughly enjoyed.

A true character and major contributor to our industry!