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Oh and it never rains
Around here
It just comes pouring down

Trouble over Lake Wendouree in Victoria. Photo by Mitchell Harris.

We are thinking of our Victorian friends who could be smashed with as much as 100mm of rain and 300mm in the mountains over the coming days. We hope it's not as catastrophic as it sounds. Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Scott Williams said: "It is an event that poses a threat to life, there will be a massive amount of lightning, there will be roads cut, flood waters. I think this event will turn farms into lakes." It's been wet in South Australia, too. We were expecting up to 100mm today and tomorrow in the Hills and they were handing out sandbags – but it fizzed out and we only got an inch. There have been downy mildew warnings and grapegrowers tossing and turning in their sleep. A fraudster is also having a few sleepless nights. Last week we revealed that a South Australian winery was approached by a 'customer' complaining about finding a fly in an expensive bottle of wine and demanding a replacement.

Four other wineries in three states have now told TWTW that they too have been approached by the same guy – a Tasmanian named **** ******. He wasn't hard to track down because he had provided his address to receive the wine. Our Facebook post about the wine scam was shared far and wide. A bottle was on its way to this man when the winery that sent it saw our post and managed to intercept the courier. On Monday our friend emailed a winery he had tried to con to apologise: "I’m sorry but this was all a joke. I don’t want any wine sent, it was just me and my mates stuffing around. If the wine arrives I'll send it back. I'm so sorry for the inconvenience." It's obviously part of his modus operandi: if you get get caught just say it's a joke. What's the biggest con job you've seen in the wine community? Let us know. Email  – Ed
Sarah Collingwood of Four Winds Vineyard on the cover of WBM. To subscribe to this beautiful magazine visit

Corker con job

You’ve opened a Pandora’s box asking for stories about cons. I’ve had some beauties over the many years I've been in retail. I had a chap come in once with a bag of corks – he wanted to have all the “corked” wines replaced. He said he threw out the wine but kept the corks – "Wasn’t that what I was supposed to do?" He had about 50 corks; didn’t work. I had a chap come in with a cask wine. “This tastes like water,” he said – and it did. Turned out some other 'artist' was buying casks, breaking open the box from underneath, taking out the wine, refilling it with water, re-gluing the box and returning it to the store with “Sorry, I picked up the moselle – can I swap it for Riesling?” Of course you can. And then you have the internet cons... too many to mention. – Declan Foreman
• Ever been conned in the wine business? Email

Help me if you can I'm feeling up

The Adelaide Hills put on a cracking lunch last Friday at Bird in Hand and there was plenty of family emotion after Pike & Joyce 2016 Kay Reserve Chardonnay was named wine of the show. The setting looked fantastic and the table decorations included greenery including leaves that looked just like marijuana leaves. I'm sure they weren't marijuana leaves, but boy they could easily be mistaken for them. Can anyone help identify the leaves in questions? Gotta say I went home feeling pretty relaxed. Email


• One of the exciting wine stories of 2018 will be the ramping-up of production of Seppeltsfield table wines and their distribution across Australia through Oatley Fine Wine Merchants. It will be the first time in 166 years of history that a Seppeltsfield-branded still wine range will be available in the Australian on- and off-premise channels. See the full story here:
• Wine Clubs is a hot topic in Australian wine. Seems every winery is putting more attention into this area of business than ever before. For good reason – there's money in it. In the January-Februrary edition of WBM we'll be looking at Wine Clubs and we have lined up interviews with smart businesses who have their wine clubs in order. Got a good Wine Clubs story to tell? Let us know. Email

Holy cow

We see it and (because it's First Drop Wines) we do believe it – shiraz in milk bottles. First Drop has just hand-bottled 600 'retro' Mother’s Milk bottles – in 750ml vintage style milk bottles. They were designed in-house (a collaboration between Matt Gant and Kieron Lomax) with the sleeves produced by CCL Label and applied at Accent Packaging. The crates were handmade by Barossa Enterprises and painted and stencilled by the First Drop crew at 'The Creamery' (the winery). They will be available for limited release through cellar door and are heading to distributors across Australia for Christmas activities.


The best cellar door with shipping containers I've seen is the Hunter Valley's Domaine De Binet. Found on Lovedale Road, the container opens on to a large deck. Bifold glass doors open up to reveal a long bar inside. It looks smart and is a great use of space. – Steve

Get your motor running

Our photo of Cooperages 1912 sales guy Steve Chapman on his Harley has prompted a few winemakers to show us their wheels. When I turned 16 Dad promised to buy me a motorbike. And he did – an ag bike with dorky mirrors, handlebar guards, silly mud flaps and a huge carrier on the back to carry the pigs and bales of hay. I was too embarrassed to ride it to school; parked it around the corner. Even today I can’t stand reading the Stock Journal. Some of the other lads had Honda 750-Fours. The Catholic priests didn’t go much on the Hogan’s Heroes helmets. When I left school I bought a Suzuki SP370 – the Winx of bikes circa 1983. Used to do monos up and down Ellen Street – usually with a pie in one hand and a few creaming sodas under the belt. Drifted up to a Honda XR 500 – went like the wind. Rode it all over the Flinders and parked it right outside the Pirie Hotel Disco. All of my Hawaiian shirts had oil stains down the back of them. I'll stop; starting to sound like a Springsteen song.
Not a Harley but here's a pic of Fenrir my Triumph Street Triple R. Even found a good place to park it at Chateau Tanunda during vintage this year so people didn't touch it. – Benjamin Pigram
Saw the lovely photo of the great man Steve Chapman. One of the loveliest blokes in the supply side of our beautiful industry. His Harley is a lovely motorbike, but if you had a chance to see his old Ducati that he sold a while ago, you would have stood in awe of it – it was a beast of a thing and when he started it at the cooperage in Tanunda you could hear the bastard in Angaston. But only a Triumph can really be called a motorcycle. This is my motorcycle, parked at Menglers HIll at first light. As Tim Smith and many others around the world would say: "Life’s different on a Triumph." Stay safe, ride well and trust no-one else on the road. – Stuart Bourne, Soul Growers
I first saw that photo of Chappy on Facebook – right bloke, right time, right angle. For me though, Harleys are like arseholes – everyone's got one. This is my 1981 Bonnie in the lovely evening light of Menglers Hill. Also attached is a photo of an edition of The Classic Motorcycle – I’ve got every edition from the late 50’s through to the early 60’s – the Champagne years of motorcycling. The bike on the cover is a T120 Bonnie; my other Triumph is a workhorse 1950 5T Speed Twin. Try putting a headline on a magazine like that these days. Don’t forget that one does not just ‘get off’ of a Triumph, one alights. – Tim Smith
Do you ride a motorcycle? A scooter perhaps? Let us know. This could be bigger than the fish photos. Email

True Noon

My story is about David Noon and Clive Simmonds. Back in Year 10 (almost 30 years ago) we had to determine what we wanted to do as a career. I had not given it much thought apart from loving everything to do with sport. My parents owned the general store in Meadows where Clive would call in on his way home from work heading to Paris Creek. One day I was talking to Clive and decided to do work experience at Noon with him. I really didn’t have an interest in wine, but the chemistry part of making it had me intrigued. Anyway my work experience was organised at Noon with Clive and for a young lad who hadn’t had a lot to do with wine, it was an eye-opener. From the first day I was racking wines from barrels, tasting barrel samples and helping Clive complete blending trials. David Noon would ask what I was doing when pumping wine around the cellar, seeing what I was up to and what jobs Clive had given me. One day I was painting the picking buckets and David said, "Stop doing that and go and look after my wine." I remember a day in the smoko room having lunch... David came in and cooked up some toast and noticed that the bread was a little mouldy. He scraped it off and continued to make his toast. He turned to me and said, “A little mould and penicillin never hurts anyone, plus I drink my wine which keeps me healthy.” That started my winemaking career and I have fine memories of the jobs I completed at Noon. – Matthew Tydeman, Ciatti
• By the way the artwork for the High Noon Rosé (delicious) label was produced by Raegan Noon. Anyone else out there have a family member's piece of artwork on the label? Let us know. Email

Smelling of roses

The Australian wine community is generous. I went to a lunch auction the other day at the National Wine Centre. It was for Variety Australia and all of the fun-loving winemakers including d'Arenberg, Tim Adams, Kaesler, Elderton and Charles Melton made a big contribution, raising more than $200,000 for the kids. That's Peter John of AP John, the major sponsor, making a speech. And that's Jeremy Oliver in bad jacket in the background. At left with his arms crossed (not happy about the company at his table) is Matt Koch. He brought up a touchy subject: The Week That Was taking the piss out of the Rosemount Botanicals about seven years ago. Anyway Matt has gone on to bigger and better things... and so has Botanicals. Gotta say though that Botanicals could have been a bit before its time, considering all the experimentation that is taking place in the wine community. Bit to be said for being ahead of the curve – but not too far ahead. Did you taste Rosemount Botanicals Apple Cucumber Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio Blood Orange & Rosewater back in the day? What did you think? Could it make a comeback? Email

Yawn to be wild

This is some of David LeMire MW's best work in the November-December edition of WBM – Australia's Wine Business Magazine. To subscribe click
WBM Online
Copyright © 2017 Madigan Media, All rights reserved.

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