12.40pm, Tuesday 1 March, Yalumba Clocktower, Angaston, Eden Valley, The Barossa
Here it is March and we’re just now building up to the vintage rush. Sure, vintage has started late and slow this year, but there are a few ways you can tell it actually has started. There’s more noise coming from the cellar. I can peek over my laptop and see guys and gals checking tanks, hauling hoses, all the things you do as a cellar hand. The noise will intensify once vintage really kicks in.
Around here, there’s another way to tell vintage has started: gnarly faces coated with whiskers. A lot of guys don’t bother to shave through vintage so you see some funny looking mugs (and handsome ones too, of course). This year, they decided to make the best of their laziness … er, I mean, tradition.
It’s the Yalumba Vintage 2011 Beard Growing Contest, and it’s rolling along faster than vintage. A bunch of folks ponied up a little cash and joined in, vying for prizes for Longest Beard, Weirdest Beard, and Most Pathetic Beard. (Maybe they won’t be vying so hard for that last prize.) And those of us who aren’t participating (that would include me; I would be far too likely to win Most Pathetic) can still support our favourites and donate on their behalf. All the money raised goes to Queensland flood relief.
Have a look at some of those faces. You can see Broady has made significant progress; he has to be a frontrunner. Vermentino man Sam, well, he assures me he started 10 days later than everyone else, so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
It’s a good way to have a bit of fun, keep vintage from getting too serious, and help out some folks who have gone through hard times.
You can find more gorgeous photos on the Yalumba Facebook page.