Wine writing

Wrattonbully triumphs at Limestone Coast Wine Show

If you love red wine, South Australia’s Wrattonbully wine region collected six trophies at the 15th annual Limestone Coast Wine Show, with a further two trophies going to varietal wines featuring Wrattonbully fruit.

Photo by Marcus Jones

Photo by Marcus Jones

As part of my role managing publicity for the event, I worked with Rob Tremelling to produce a series of video clips during the trophy presentation feast. We interviewed judges and winners, and loaded the clips onto YouTube the following day.

The complete collection of videos appears on the Limestone Coast Wine Show Facebook Page.

The Growers Behind Penfolds Grange

The iconic positioning of Penfolds Grange in the global wine industry is undisputed, but how many people realise that the grapes that go into a bottle of Grange are sourced from all around South Australia? “If it’s the crème de la crème, we will take it,” says chief winemaker Peter Gago, describing the subsequent blending process as “that synergistic sum of the parts”.


Image supplied by Penfolds

I spoke with some of the growers behind Grange for SA Life magazine. Don Oliver, from Oliver’s Taranga at McLaren Vale, describes gaining selection as like winning the grand final – “And if you get a decent quantity, it’s like winning the lottery,” he said. Barossa Valley grower, Paul Georgiadis, is another regular contributor, and likens the achievement to climbing Mount Everest. “The first time I got in, I thought they were having a lend of me – I actually felt weak at the knees when I found out it was true,” he said.

Their story appears in the June 2015 edition.

SA Life Profile – Kim Longbottom

When I met Kim Longbottom from Padthaway’s Henry’s Drive Vignerons last year at a wine function, I knew her story would make a fabulous profile piece.

Kim_Longbottom_Henrys_Drive_LRKim owns and operates Henry’s Drive Vignerons, and she is a savvy business woman who thinks outside the square. For instance, she enlisted the help of the local country aero club to fly down a UK wine buyer with a busy schedule. They liked what they saw; the initial order was 16,000 cases.



The cellar door is located just off the Riddoch Highway in SA’s Limestone Coast, and the business was named after Henry John Hill, the proprietor of the 19th century mail coach service that once traversed the landscape.

All of the wine brands have a strong postal theme, with labels like The Postmistress, The Scarlet Letter and Pillar Box Red.

Visitors are encouraged to rest and refresh at the cellar door, just as the mail coach once did at its various stops.

Kim’s story is in the 10th Birthday Issue of SA Life Magazine.




Robe / Mount Benson Wine History Project

I have just finished producing the latest chapter of the Limestone Coast Wine History Project covering Robe and Mount Benson – two South Australian wine regions strongly influenced by the maritime climate.


The pioneering Kym, Derek and Anna Hooper from Cape Jaffa Wines were among the swag of local producers who shared insights on site selection, early plantings, successful varieties, climate and GI’s…



Here are the links to the completed clips, filmed and edited by Rob Tremelling from Fed Creative with interviews by Nick Ryan.

SA Rural Women’s Award 2013

RM Williams Outback magazine is a media partner of the Rural Women’s Award and asked me to interview Queensland state winner Alison Fairleigh and South Australian winner Anna Hooper (pictured).


Anna and her husband Derek operate Cape Jaffa Wines, about two hours up the coast from my place. Here is the view from their office – little wonder Anna is inspired to achieve great things!


The state winner profiles are in the ‘Roundup’ section of the June/July 2013 Outback. This edition also revisits the fabulous restaurant Pipers of Penola featured in an earlier blog post.

Outback Jun:Jul



Padthaway’s Wine History

Part three of the Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council’s Culture and Practices / Wine  History Project focused on Padthaway. We used Henry’s Drive as a base for many of the interviews, which were conducted by incredibly fun wine writer Jane Faulkner .

Henry’s Drive, Padthaway, SA

Wonderful venue, great wines, and owner Kim Longbottom was an exquisite hostess.

Ulrich Grey-Smith, Sue Bell, Jane Faulkner, Kim Longbottom

It was my job to produce a script that encapsulates this wine region from the single day’s filming. Here it is, with many thanks to Rob Tremelling for the camera work and editing. Look out for industry icon David Hardy’s legendary quote in at the end: “If you drink enough wine you can tolerate anybody, so it’s a great product.” Too true!


Limestone Coast Wine History Project – Wrattonbully

It’s exciting when a visiting Canadian wine critic tweets the following about the Wine History Project I’m working on in partnership with the Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council and Fed Creative:

Perhaps our production team could head to Canada next! Stage two of the local project found us filming in Wrattonbully, where we delved deep into wine history in an underground cave.

It’s an amazing feeling drinking wine made from grapes growing above your head! We collected four hours worth of interviews on tape, with wine writer Mike Bennie on the mike, and some rather cute photos in between.

Here’s the edited version:

The rest of the clips can also be found on the Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council’s website.


Selector Autumn Edition

It’s always a pleasure to head to Coonawarra to research an article, stock up on some wine and chat with a great bunch of locals.

There’s also some fabulous photo opportunities – here’s my shot of the Coonawarra siding, a true local icon. You’ll find it along with my words in the new Autumn edition of Selector.

Click here to read the article in my Portfolio.

Cover image by Sharyn Cairns.

Sleeping Beauty – Padthaway House, South Australia

Last week, I was working in Padthaway producing the latest chapter of the Limestone Coast’s Wine History Project.

Padthaway House was one of the venues for our series of interviews. It BLEW me away.

I know I’ve said it before, but this time, I really felt like I had arrived on the set of The Secret Garden. (Refer to my last blog post…you’ll get my drift). Or perhaps this was Sleeping Beauty…

This grand old home has recently changed hands. The owners are focussing on the award-winning vineyard, so the house and garden will have to wait a while…

I love it just as it is.

Back Label Text – Cape Jaffa Wines

The crew at Cape Jaffa Wines requested some more wine words for their tasty new range. We continued the coastal-surf-environmental vibe synonymous with their label and their general way of living. I thought the name Epic Drop was a perfect fit for their 2010 Shiraz – only the most intense barrels are used in its creation. (Yes, pun intended). And Waxed Lyrical was ideal for the 2012 Marsanne with its rhapsody of flavours…


I’m Gretel Sneath, an established freelance writer & storyteller. I work for magazines, newspapers & corporate clients. When I'm not on the road, you'll find me on our farm on South Australia's Limestone Coast or in Hawthorn, Melbourne.