12.05pm, Perth Airport, Western Australia
It’s finished! A five week trek with the Rare & Fines down the Eastern Seaboard, through rural NSW, round the bottom of the country through Victoria and across to the West. And we lived! And won hearts and palates – some where we’ve never ventured before. And sent some nice wines to some nice homes. And we’ve been asked back everywhere! And you can’t complain about that.
Yesterday we did our annual event with Perth’s Twist Club, a group of fine upstanding businessmen who have a passion for wine – amongst other things! They always manage to have a great set of wines put on for their monthly meeting, and I think it’s the only job that I do in the world where I get to have lunch with 50 engaging men – as the only gal! It’s a memorable day believe me, and I always save some special stories for the boys from my travels.
This episode in our relationship with the Twist Club was no exception, and with the folks at Gala restaurant in Applecross doing the food, I even told stories about one of the tremendous three-dimensional personalities of the wine industry, Peter Lehmann (who – just for the record – started his winemaking career as an assistant at Yalumba). Good times!
Then we come to the big gala finish to the tour, the folks from Devine Cellars – the Tamburri Family, Michael and Tony (long-time supporters of Yalumba in the West) – put on an extravaganza event at the Laguna Veneto Club. Besides all the feature Rare & Fine wines from the tour, we showed the “family relations”: Patchwork Shiraz, the little brother to Octavius; Scribbler, the little brother to Signature; Eden Valley Viognier, the little sister to Virgilius; and Vermentino, the lighter, aromatic cousin to Viognier.
And we had a birthday cake with 160 candles for the winery, even though the official 160 years ticks over on November 17th this year. Any opportunity for a cake, I say, is a good one!
Then came the entertainment. Cher flew in for the night from Las Vegas and strutted her stuff, and yes folks, the rumours are true! I did get up and do a – very tragic – duet of “Walking in Memphis” with Cher, but I feel that if you’re an Elvis fan, you just have to stand up sometimes and say so! I only wish I wasn’t such a rubbish singer, as I think someone got it on video, which is a scary thought. After Cher left to fly back to the US, Freddie Mercury made an appearance from the great beyond, and folks had a big time on the dance floor. 160th birthday bash farewell to Perth? Tick that box.
But none of these things happen by accident, and the folks at Perth branch should take a massive bow. For this past week, Yalumba was everywhere across Perth – tastings and dinners in the wine stores, masterclasses with the store managers, dinners on both sides of the river and out in the suburbs, and trade calls to folks who couldn’t make events. Lee “got that done” Pratty, Pia “Mini Lee in a good way”, Jonno “covers the ground”, Byron “the silent achiever”, Cindi “the restaurateurs’ friend”, and Batesy, who surprised us in the nicest way and has a hit on his hands – you all know who you are – thanks a huge amount for all the hard yards for Yalumba out there, and I’ll be thrilled to bits to see it all happen like deja vu all over again in 2010!
I’m home on the lunch-time flight to go back up to the Barossa, get some sleep, then gear up for Ireland, the UK, the USA and Canada. I can feel my favourite recliner chair calling my name right now!
See ya Perth!