Wine writing

Posting Wine Show Results Online

Gone are the days when a media release announcing the winners of a wine show will suffice; Twitter and Facebook users at the event will gazump you and get the word out in no time, which is fabulous! It’s now a matter of ensuring that the right people are watching and listening – and that we can value-add to actuality of it all, using photos or film clips. For the recent 2012 Limestone Coast Wine Show, we had interviews with the winners and judges edited and posted live on YouTube the following day.

Penley Estate produced the favourite Limestone Coast drop of Canadian wine judge and journalist Anthony Gismondi:

And finally, an interview with the team behind the Best Wine of Show:


Limestone Coast Wine Show 2012

I love this photo…it kind of sums up my week – a bit of a blur!

Record Entries at the Coonawarra Hall

The 12th annual Limestone Coast Wine Show is underway, and I’m again managing the publicity – writing and distributing press releases, and acting as the go-between for the organising committee and journalists. It’s wonderful to be associated with such a successful event (record entries in 2012) and such awesome people.

Yes, and there’s a bit of wine about the place, too.

Glass of cabernet, anyone?

The trophies will be handed out tomorrow night at the Stonehaven barrel shed in Padthaway. I’ll be there with my trusty cameraman filming interviews with the winners and judges, and madly transcribing the vision early Friday morning ready for editing and uploading onto YouTube. I’ll post some clips…

Wine History Project – Mount Gambier GI

The Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council has commissioned me to help document the history of the various wine districts in the South East corner of South Australia. Working in conjunction with Fed Creative, I’m directing interviews and location shoots in Coonawarra, Robe, Mount Benson, Wrattonbully, Padthaway and Mount Gambier.

Interviewing David Herbert in Mount Gambier

After that, it’s back to the office to spool through the hours of footage and write scripts. We’re planning to produce about 20 YouTube clips over the next 12 months. Here’s the first one, on the Mount Gambier wine region, with interviews by wine writer and wine show judge Nick Ryan.


James Halliday’s Wine Companion Magazine

James Halliday’s Wine Companion magazine commissioned me to write a travel feature on Coonawarra, which appears in the latest edition. My challenge was to create something fresh, from a local perspective. While I’m certainly familiar with the area, I took a guided tour with Zema Estate’s Karen Ronning in order to discover what’s new and what locals in particular love. It was a classic example of exploring your own backyard – where often, the best discoveries are made.

The obligatory location shot!

At Upstairs at Hollick, I dined on spectacular crisp skinned pork belly served with parsnip puree, watermelon, pickled rind, olive and chervil salad.

Upstairs at Hollick

I also tried the sensational sour dough pizzas at Fodder, a funky cafe located in the original Coonawarra schoolhouse.

Fodder, Coonawarra

The Coonawarra Store’s Marcia Gregory kindly gave me a jar of her husband Bruce’s bush honey…gosh this is beginning to sound like a Limestone Coast version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar!

Wine, food, post office…this place has it all.

There was some wine education as well – including a close-up view of the terra rossa soils which have helped to make this region famous…

Coonawarra Soil Profile

The gorgeous Zemas then sent me on my way loaded up with olive oil, olives and chillies…can life get any better? Nope.

Produce from Zema Wines and the Coonawarra Store

All in a day’s work

There’s nothing like a 400km+ round trip in SA’s Limestone Coast all in the name of work. Especially when you have the opportunity to visit gardens like this…on a farm, tucked well off the road in the middle of a paddock….

'Aberfoyle', Kongorong, South Australia

And wineries with a cool coastal vibe.

Cape Jaffa Wines

I have some exciting things in the pipeline with these two Limestone Coast gems.


Chef Guy Grossi comes to Zema Estate, Coonawarra

Italian chef Guy Grossi cooked up a storm at Coonawarra’s Zema Estate this week as part of Tasting Australia.
I MC’d the event – a fabulous opportunity.

Guy Grossi

My husband and I were invited to a feast of pasta, quail, venison, orchard fruit and some particularly spicy peppers at the Zema family home. Francesca Zema moved to Coonawarra with her family in the 1950s, and introduced many in the Limestone Coast to Italian hospitality and cuisine. She is a famous local cook – a humble woman, not used to written recipes, merely those she learnt from her mother and by cooking and tasting herself. Guy Grossi relates well; his latest book, Recipes from my Mother’s Kitchen, takes him straight back to his mother’s kitchen table.

Francesca Zema, Gretel Sneath, Guy Grossi

Guy is recognised as the country’s leading authority on Italian cuisine, and has three Melbourne restaurants along with Grossi Trattoria in Bangkok. In his exclusive “pop up” restaurant at Zema Estate, we feasted on ravioli filled with southern rock lobster, ribs, and pears with ricotta ice-cream…with Zema wine, of course!

Ravioli filled with southern rock lobster

Several days prior to this event, I was lucky to be a guest of Rymill Coonawarra at their Harvest Luncheon with Stephanie Alexander. Another wonderful feast, and Stephanie gave a fascinating insight into her career and life. The Rymills are direct descendants of Coonawarra founder, John Riddoch, and their fascinating story will feature in a couple of articles I have in the pipeline…

Photograph by Jo Fincham


Cape Jaffa Wines – Savouring ‘The Set’

Awesome drop!

Back Label


Cape Jaffa Wines is the first fully certified biodynamic vineyard on SA’s Limestone Coast, and owners Derek and Anna Hooper recently commissioned me to come up with some savvy label text for their exquisite new range ‘The Set’. In addition to being hugely talented winemakers, they’re mad keen surfers who have shaped their lives around the outdoors. I wrote an article about their breathtaking home overlooking the Southern Ocean for SA Life magazine a few years ago and you can read it in my portfolio (Cape Cool) by clicking here. I was left incredibly inspired by their work-life balance – vintage being the exception!

Many consumers love the idea of discovering the personality behind the regionality of wine, and I wanted to capture the Hoopers’ unique story on a bottle:

“It takes a special combination of natural elements to create the perfect wave, and the same forces are at work in the coastal vineyards of Cape Jaffa Wines where practices in tune with the earth produce regionally-distinct, cool climate wines with a strong maritime influence.

‘The Set’ reflects the Hooper family’s quest for the ideal ‘break’ – that balance between work and play, and the never-ending search for nature’s perfection, in the bottle…and at the beach.”

We can all drink to that!

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