Wine writing

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.




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.

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…

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

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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