“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)





28 June 2018


Moonrise over George Grainger Aldridge's head

A month of international crises finally takes vinous extra-terrestrial twist

It's been a tricky week at the depot: we blew our diplomacy budget as our portals bustled with cranky envoys from China, Bierzo, Nauru and now Caucasian Georgia. 

We have also survived skirmishes with the United States of America, Germany and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.  

Initially we had the thunder and spittle of Australian ethanol magnates and the fusty Family First Winemakers blaming DRINKSTER for triggering a wine trade war with China.

Wrong. That was all blue-eyed, borborygmic fluff and blunder.

We were the first wine journal to report that possibility, of course. That's what we do. But we didn't start a trade war.

DRINKSTER has had a long and deep friendship with China. We were amongst the very first Australian winers to bother visiting when we went to talk and research the tea industry in the '90s. 

Second, we are still negotiating our way through the Great Nauru Shitfight. We suggested (on InDaily) that some wines smell like superphosphate sacks, which combine the oxidising methoxypyrazine of hemp, or burlap, with guano, the seabird shit which our professors alleged made up most of that lonely Pacific isle. 

The Germans began strip-mining Nauru's guano/phosphate for export in 1906-7; after which Australian troops overthrew them and with Britain and New Zealand, set up the British Phosphate Commission. 

Now, as the resource dwindles, an incoming missive from Robert Mencel, Chief Executive Officer of RONPHOS, The Republic of Nauru's Phosphate Company, kindly explains "The theory that Nauru's  phosphate was deposited as 'Bird Shit' was dismissed 20 years ago. The original source has been proven to be marine sediments, in other words 'Dead Marine Shit'." 

Mencel attached the comprehensive fourth chapter of the Davis Feasibility Report, The geological origin of Nauru, its limestone and phosphate, which explains this in appropriate geological detail and leaves the DRINKSTER team with 40 years of tasting notes to correct.

Like change most references to bird shit to fish shit. Big difference. 

And now we have the Georgian incident, codename Three Gs Mars Affair. Writing on the Eurasianet website, Tbilisi journalist Giorgi - all these Georges! -  Lomsadze revealed that vinicultural scientists this week launched IX Millennium at the Georgian National Museum. Their aim is to grow Georgian grapes on Mars. Or at least find a more appropriate variety if their local hero don't get up. 

Rkatsiteli by Nikoloz Bezhanishvili

This move comes in response to the May call from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), encouraging international co-operation in making Mars more liveable. 

"This could include shelter, food, water, breathable air, communication, exercise, social interaction and medicine," NASA said, "but participants are encouraged to consider innovative and creative ideas beyond these examples." 

In comes Georgia. "With a 8,000-year record of cultivating grapes on the Planet Earth," Lomsadze writes, "Georgia is still eager to give it a whirl. After all, NASA and International Potato Center have successfully experimented with growing potatoes in Mars-like conditions, so why not take Martian farming to the next, more sybaritic stage?" 

He reports the project involves up a "vertical greenhouse lab to grow grapevines in a 'closed, controlled space' ... in a lab based in a Tbilisi hotel and operated by a company named SpaceFarms." 

Lomsadze reminds us of the Georgian folk song that was sent into space on a solid gold record on The Voyager in 1977. 

"As with traditional polyphonic singing," he explains, "winemaking also is deeply intertwined with Georgian national identity. The glory of the grapevine is sung in folk songs and poetry and depicted as bas-relief ornaments on the nation’s ancient churches."  

The polyphony is now heading toward Gliese 445 at around 62,140 km/h. Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode is on the flip side.  

In November 2013 in the City Final edition of The Daily Toper George Grainger Aldridge first published our ground-breaking paper, Evidence of vineyards on Mars

This offered unequivocal illustrated proof that Mars already has a booming wine business, and surprise, surprise, it's all red. 

Like the Chinese, Martians have a distinct dislike for the colour white, as it indicates people like me: the walking dead. 

NASA operatives knew of the discoveries revealed in this report one week after its publication - their staff canteen people bought the first copies. 

As our research and extensive field work revealed, the Martian vignoble is distinctly rufous.  

DRINKSTER envoys are now en route to Tbilisi to negotiate the highly sensitive matter of introducing white or golden grapes like Rkatsiteli without showing full respect to the confounding Martian blonde phylloxera quarantine protocols.

There's a great deal at stake. Never say DRINKSTER's not diligent.

Sample review from Evidence of vineyards on Mars:

Casa Flagrante Zoomico 2019  

When you get to the corner of this wine it’s all bananas and bricks.  There’s some salt damp in the eastern crater, and when you look at the tracks the damn thing leaves it’s obvious there’s a nail or something in the fifteenth tyre on the left.  They probably wrangled the canes for maximum exposure to Saturn and forgot the forthcoming supernova in NGC 387, which has fried the epidermis and left all the titanium looking crackly. That thing sticking out the side is troubling, but it’ll probably go down when the twin moons come across next week. I’d recommend you have it with all your husbands and spermicide on toast. A touch overpriced at fifteen grocks, but it’ll keep.

... and here's George with his pet aural ectoplasm emergent in the Australian desert during our years of intensive field work in Martian-like conditions:

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