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New Challenges for this Wine Stooge

25 Mar

Curly, Moe and Larry judging wine…

Despite the comical nature of the above photograph, I have had a productive couple of weeks in wine.

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The Italian Scrapbook

21 May

As a kid, teenager and adult travelling overseas, I used to always bring one lined notepad or blank scrapbook that my mother had gifted me. Together we kept travel diaries filled with sketches and writing. They acted as beautiful momentoes of where we went with various scribbles on my end (or artwork on my mother’s end) of random experiences like what colour the sky was in front of that historical castle, tickets of a show we went to, the business card of a restaurant we dined at, or even a sketch of the view at the top of a village. This way of doodling my experiences has stuck with me during most of my travels. It’s a way of capturing the moment with a personal touch. Naturally, in order to keep a travel diary like this you need to allocate time during the travels to be able to scrawl in the books. It isn’t always possible…

Exactly one month ago I returned from a three week escapade in Italy. Two-thirds of that journey were work-based as I found myself at the famous Vinitaly fair in Verona, with the nine days after that travelling with a colleague through five different Italian regions and visiting thirteen wine producers. Considering I was in bella Italia, I bet there are many who thought that I was spending my days doing this:

crosslegged blackwhite


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The AAVWS – A post guided by David Bowie

27 Nov

Myself (associate judge) & Mike Hayes (judge) at the Australia Alternative Varieties Wine Show 2012 – Photography by Luke Birch

Last year I wrote about my experience as a Steward at the Australian Alternative Varietal Wine Show (AAVWS) with reference specifically to Bowie’s fourth album, Hunky Dory. This year I returned as an Associate Judge. Seeing as David Bowie is undisputedly the most alternative human being on the planet, I will use him as a means of detailing the highlights of the show again this year.

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We go together

30 Oct

It was only a few weeks ago that the judging part of the Royal Melbourne Wine Show (RMWS) occurred over at Flemington. I was the youngest associate to join a group of wine industry folk who would spend four full days tasting and judging the huge selection of wines submitted for assessment. Fast forward three weeks later and the fruits of our labour have been publicly released with a series of trophy winners, namely the famous Jimmy Watson trophy going to Best’s Great Western Shiraz Bin 1 2011.

Days spent putting 150 wines in our mouths did not seem so bad when the camaraderie amongst the gang this year was a real joy. That includes the addition of the two international judges Jamie Goode (from the UK) and James Suckling (from the US, who I should mention lives in Tuscany). Hence the reason why Grease’s ‘We Go Together’ was running through my head as I wrote this. We all worked hard, but the results at the end of this post speak for themselves. We did good.

Here is a collection of dodgy Instagram-type photos of the ordinary times, the good times, and the shenanigans that we all got up to.


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A Couple Of Kooks – The AAVWS 2011

8 Nov

Last week I found myself in the country town of Mildura for the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show, or the AAVWS as it is perhaps more commonly known by the acronymphiles.

I was keen to participate so signed up as a Steward and attempted to prepare myself physically and mentally for the unexpected.

After all, this was the event they titled, “More than just a wine show“.

So I threw on one of my favourite David Bowie albums, Hunky Dory, and pushed play on Track 5 for a little inspiration.

David Bowie, Hunky Dory, album, Pharoah, costume, kooky

Will you stay in a lover’s story

If you stay you won’t be sorry

‘Cause we believe in you

Soon you’ll grow so take a chance

With a couple of Kooks

Hung up on romancing”

Track 5 The Kooks

David Bowie [1971], Hunky Dory

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