Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
June 10, 2004
James' speech notes.
"Ladies & Gentlemen, winemakers are the gods of the industry. You know it makes sense.
I was very nervous about speaking today. I couldn't sleep last night. When I finally drifted off, I began to dream.
At the door was a messenger with a beautiful engraved invitation to a wine tasting hosted by God himself…
My company were major sponsors and I was invited.
God had deck out Chapel Hill as if it were the Sea & Vines festival to end all Sea & Vines festivals.
Tables, candles, crystal all in a giant tent.
I walked into the tent and was stunned and the music that was echoing was very familiar. Sure enough, on a giant white piano there was John Lennon playing Imagine -- just with slightly different words.
I found my way to a seat and looked around. I was sitting next to on my right Drew Noon, on my right was Steve Piombo.
Justin Lane, Phil and the garage winery crew, had a Red Heads Studio table and Micheal Fragos was half way through showing them some killer ‘04 barrel samples.
Chester was there sitting up the front chatting to Jesus about the chances of getting in some Marsanne through quarantine a bit quicker.
So there I was with Steve smiling on my left, Drew on my right, and I let my eyes wander over the other guests. There was the John Glatzer, Simon Parker, Steve Pannel, The team from Wirra.
I can only thank my lucky stars I was invited, Thanks Bryan, but I didn't care as it was just so cool to be here and -- God's wine had to be pretty good
All of a sudden everyone scurried for their seats, and a group the apostles entered the room followed by God himself.
God stood up the front and went into a detailed very nice multimedia PowerPoint presentation of the techniques.
Half way through explaining the distinct soil and microclimate of each vineyard that went made the grade, the presentation went dead… Blank screen, nothing.
Luckly Lucy Hyde was sitting near the front & she sorted it.
After God gave an introduction we all poured the first wine, which was a mighty red, and we all begin to swirl with reverence. I put the wine up to my nose and . . . nothing.
It took me both hands to lift each glass, but I went through tasting each wine with maximum concentration -- although it was hard to ignore the oohhs and aahhs of the assembled angelic palates. My taste buds were in total confusion. Every wine looked and tasted the same. Dark purple, sweet oak, high alcohol, soft well-integrated tannins and . . . well, that was it. I could only think what the heck were you supposed to eat with wines like this?
Then God looked right at me and said, "What are your comments on these wines." Jesus Christ (I really have to stop that) -- Why me? I thought.
"Well," I stuttered, "this intensity is amazing."
"Exactly!" stormed God. "We cut yields to only one grape per vine!"
“Oh my god... God really is a winemaker.”
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
This nice mobile phone picture by Suzie Newbury of Lyndoch in the Barossa won "Best Mobile Photo".
Congratulations to Tara Kimpton who won the "Winemaker's Choice" in #lazypics. Tara's gallery of work was outstanding and she is a worthy winner. The team at Lazy B are pleased to share what she has done with a wider audience.Winner of the "Wine Oh" category is Jeanette Stannard with this gem from Sellicks Beach.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Grape pruners raced cutting three panels of vines to see who was the quickest. Their work was then checked for accuracy, and time penalties were given for mistakes. The winner was the competitor with the best adjusted time.
The event was last run c. 1972 and has a long history going back to the 19th Century. Our judges for this years event were Lyndon Elliott & Fred Osmond each with 50 years of experience.
Congratulations to the winner of the McLaren Vale Pruning Championship, Jeremy O'Donald - picture above finishing. Jeremy won, both his heat and the final, with his combination of speed and accuracy.
In a notable effort Dan Wright - pictured above - from Dog Ridge wines and Swell Brewery came third.
After the pruning competitor completed their work, Fred and Lyndon marked any faults, mistakes or errors in cutting the vine, which added a five second penalty to each competitors time.
Both Lyndon and Fred are multi-generation grape growers from McLaren Flat. Both of their families have produced the grapes behind some of the most famous labels in McLaren Vale, Hardy's Tintara and d'Arenberg.
Fred Osmond farms McLaren Vale oldest grapes, which are thought to date to the 1840's when his farm was first settled - and Lyndon's vineuyard is made into a special single vineyard wine.
Monday, July 4, 2011
The Bureau of Meteorology said the state can expect to see more wild weather in the coming days and issued a severe weather alert for the Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island, the South East and parts of the Yorke Peninsula. Fortunately vines are dormant at this time of year and are not damaged by hail.
Monday, June 6, 2011
08 July · 15:00 - 18:00
McLaren Vale Visitors Centre
Lot 2 Main Rd
McLaren Vale, Australia
|More info|| |
DJ's Growers are bringing the McLaren Vale Pruning Competition back from the pages of history – (hats were mandatory during the 1923 comp at Reynella!)Gather your best pruners. For a test of pruning speed and accuracy as judged by the ‘Legends of McLaren Vale.’More info e: email@example.com
p: 08 8323 8339
Friday, June 3, 2011
11 June · 13:00 - 16:00
McLaren Vale Visitors Centre Carpark
McLaren Vale, Australia
|More info|| |
Join us for a protest against the lack of services in the south, urban sprawl and food security.With special guest Nick Xenophon, Independent Senator for South Australia.After gathering at the Visitors Centre, we are traveling to Seaford Heights in convoy to plant a community garden.Bring plant seeds, and tools if you have them.This is the first event for GROUNDSWELLsa - a community group fighting for better intelligence, deeper sensitivity, brighter creativity and serious community involvement in the development and conservation of South Australia.More info? firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Organised by ERCmedia, hosted by Homestyle Solutions, WinedUp is a wine-tasting event is put on twice a year for wine enthusiasts who engage in the social media platforms (predominantly Twitter) in Adelaide, SA, Australia.
Lazy Ballerina was proud to support.
WinedUp #2 was held at Homestyle Solutions on Saturday, 28th May 2011.
Our guests tasted some of Yalumba's top wines (Octavius, Signature) as well as the newest beer released by the McLaren Vale Beer Company. Fresh food supplier, Feast Fine Foods, also provided delicious Coorong Angus Beef Salami and Bresaola.
You can join in by following James, @lazyballerina and find out what we have planned next.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Saturday, May 21, 2011
We are searching through your tops shots to come out with a winner. The rules are pretty simple. During June all you need to do is post your pics to our Facebook site. Over the next month we will put a shortlist together and get our fans to vote. The winner of each category becomes a Lazy B. VIP. You receive our new wines as they are released… for life. That is every new wine we release, for as long as we are in business. Well worth winning. We will sort the photo's into four categories. 1- Historical - Pictures that invoke the history of wine, or the places it is grown and made. Thinks ‘Palms at Seppeltfields.’ 2- Landscape – Vineyards are pretty. 3- Wine-Oh! – that stunning wine photo you took. Might be drinking or partying. Use you imagination. 4- Mobile Phone – Anything from your phone or non camera device – we call this the Sam Freeman award. Winners announced July 4th, 2011. This is going to be great! James
We are searching through your tops shots to come out with a winner.
The rules are pretty simple.
During June all you need to do is post your pics to our Facebook site. Over the next month we will put a shortlist together and get our fans to vote.
The winner of each category becomes a Lazy B. VIP. You receive our new wines as they are released… for life. That is every new wine we release, for as long as we are in business. Well worth winning.
We will sort the photo's into four categories.
1- Historical - Pictures that invoke the history of wine, or the places it is grown and made. Thinks ‘Palms at Seppeltfields.’
2- Landscape – Vineyards are pretty.
3- Wine-Oh! – that stunning wine photo you took. Might be drinking or partying. Use you imagination.
4- Mobile Phone – Anything from your phone or non camera device – we call this the Sam Freeman award.
Winners announced July 4th, 2011.
This is going to be great!
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
|Rain clears in Willunga, South half of McLaren Vale Wine Region.|
|Downy Mildew affects grape yields by 'burning off bunches.|
|Grape harvest continues after the vines leaves have turned yellow from Downy Mildew infection.|
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Saturday, April 16, 2011
|Taranga as a ruin in the 1990's.|
|The Olivers Taranga site has been heavily re-vegetated as these photos show. The road has been built up higher forming a large embankment.|
|McLaren Vale Fruit packers building in 1980. Note the Caltex service station in the far right.|
|Fruit packers gets a makeover in 1981.|
|Aerial view of Main South Road Morphett Vale, showing the Emu Hotel centre, left of road, in the early 1950s.|
|Esplanade Aldinga Beach c.1979.|
|1970, the original Christian Bible Church chapel seen here at Sea View Chapel Hill. Gladys Stillwell & Peg Dunstan pictured.|
|Chapel Hill as a modern winery.|
You can view more of our work on Lazy's Facebook page.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Norman and Rose Hook celebrated their 70th Wedding Anniversary with a party at the Lazy Ballerina Cellar Door. Norman and Rose are Paul's parents and James' grandparents.
Rose, 89 years old and Norman, 90 also this month were married in March 1941.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Battle of Bosworth's newly released 'Spring Seed Co - Sav Blanc' was served with entree. Over mains we tasted 2007 Lazy Ballerina - Tatachilla Single vineyard Shiraz, 2008 Mollydooker Velvet Glove, 2008 Battle of Bosworth 'White Boar' Shiraz and 2008 Hugh Hamilton Saperavi.
For the rest of 2011, Rick will be traveling the world educating businesses on how to build their brands online. He will be visiting NYC, London, Mexico, Sydney, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Vancouver, Adelaide, Munich, Napa and Perth!
We wish him well on his trip.
Congratulations to Vinteloper Wines for making Mike Bennie's Best of the Best List in the April issue of Gourmet Traveller Wine.
"Sourcing regionally works well for winemaker Dave Bowley. Picking and choosing from a variety of vineyard sites has honed his portfolio into a sharp hit list of regional specialties from South Australia, but with an individual flair thanks to his more relaxed approach to winemaking. Bowley’s sauvignon blanc, riesling and pinot gris are orderly, fresh wines with plenty of enjoyment factor. Where it gets real is with his remarkable 2010 Odeon Riesling, Clare Valley (labelled ‘Natural’ this vintage), which eschews normalcy for riesling produced in Australia and tows an unfettered, unadorned line. Textured, alive and brittle with electric personality, Odeon is brilliant white wine. The 2008 McLaren Vale shiraz has plenty of pluck too, and finds a very even keel balancing fruit verity and finesse."
The full best of list is shown on GTW website.
Today, the new Lazy Ballerina website goes live. Big thanks to Glen Laundy at Tekspec Design for updating our old site to WEB 2.0.
If you are interested in updating your own site contact Glen at email@example.com
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
This email is to let you know that our discussions and resistance to the
development of Seaford Heights continues and to advise you of the
details for this year's BankSA Sea and Vines festival.
The Association, The Board and I, as Chair, persist in our engagement in
discussions and negotiations with the other stakeholders; The Southern
Community Coalition, The Friends of Willunga Basin and with The City of
The latest development in the process is the City of Onkaparinga's
response to a letter from the Minister for Planning (Minister Holloway)
which advised of the Minister's amendments to the Seaford Heights
Development Plan Application (DPA) resulting from the consultation
process with numerous community groups, including the McLaren Vale
Grape, Wine and Tourism Association and various government departments.
At its meeting on 15th March the Council resolved as detailed in the
attached letter from Mayor Rosenberg to Minster Rau. In summary the
1) That the Council restates its wish for the land to be rezoned 'rural'
2) If rezoning is not approved, the Minister be requested to convene a
'round table' to include all those who had been involved
in previous consultations to consider an alternative development
policy for Seaford Heights appropriate to a transition to
the Willunga Basin and rural areas.
3) That the Minister take note and take action on the responses to the
proposed changes to the Seaford Heights. DPA
4) In the event that the Minister does not approve the request to rezone
the land to rural, the Mayor and CEO of the
City of Onkaparinga express their concern in relation to the Seaford
Heights DPA to the Development Policy Advisory Committee
and to the Environment Resources and Development Committee of
For details on point 3) please see the attached letter to Minister Rau.
This resolution, in large part, reflected the wishes of the three key
community groups; McLaren Vale Grape, Wine and Tourism Association, The
Southern Community Coalition and the Friends of Willunga Basin who as a
result of discussion were in agreement on their position.
Your Association Board, at its recent meeting, has also reiterated that
it's first preference is for the land to be rezoned 'rural' and it's
second preference is for the consultative process to be recommenced.
I will keep you informed about the Minister's response to the Council's
resolution when it is received.
With respect to BankSA Sea and Vines, please also note the attached
summary of the details for the event this year. As those of you who are
involved are aware, we are in the process of evolving this event and as
a result have had numerous meetings leading to several alterations to
the delivery model to meet the needs of all the businesses wishing to
participate as can be seen from the attached summary.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has put in
time and effort to come up with the present solution, especially
Elizabeth Tasker and her team.
The BankSA bookings open on Monday 11th April and all bookings on 14th
April. We anticipate that the brochure will be available by then and the
details will be on the website in the next 10 days.
McLaren Vale Grape, Wine and Tourism
Saturday, March 26, 2011
This was first published in The Independent Weekly in August 2008.
“Mr. White, I’m not like you”, James Hook said as I settled in his ute. “I am a scientist.” He then took me to show me a thing or two about McLaren Vale, where he worked for the Grape, Wine and Tourism Association.
In this business, you don’t meet many so certain about their roles and their determination to fulfil them. Ian Hickinbotham spoke in such a manner when first introduced some thirty years ago; his son Stephen, was another. Ray Beckwith, too, now in his mid-nineties, is still similarly precise. Probably no other Australians have had such influence on wine as Hick Snr., and Beckwith, with their ground-breaking work on pH and malo-lactic fermentation, now taken for granted by winemakers the whole world over. Had Stephen not been killed in a plane crash, I’m sure he would have gone on to show us another thing or two.
So here was your writer, suss that we’d run out of such people of serious category, and jaundiced by the thousands of cocksure pretenders and self-promoters who fill the vast gaps between. “Their obituaries describe these people as successful businessmen and they pass promptly into oblivion” wrote Walter James of this mob in 1970. I don’t think this will be said of James Hook.
I’d seen Hook the scientist at work when he’d been called in to make an independent judgement on a grape crop. With another viticultural scientist, Derek Cameron, they succinctly disproved an allegation that the crop was diseased. The brewery which had tried to evade its purchasing contract was forced to keep its bargain, and the conscientious, terrified grower stayed in business.
And now in McLaren Vale, Hook gradually unfolded a severe arsenal of knowledge and attitude. Not only did he show a rare savvy about vine husbandry, but his deep appreciation of the folly of greed and environmental destruction left most of the wine business for dead.
Then he sent me some shiraz: an understated bottle, displaying a dancer resting on a chair, named Lazy Ballerina after a canopy management where the vine’s canes were organized to resemble the dress of a ballerina. That wine, and another release since, with a little viognier, impressed me very deeply, with its intensity of character, gastronomic intelligence, and promise for the future.
With his parents, James has purchased an unusual, if run-down, European garden on the big bend at the south end of the Kuitpo forest. A new tasting room is nearing completion; the garden is gradually regathering its beauty, its silver birches and healthy river red gums standing in bright contrast to the wall of pines opposite, a carpet of winter blooms spread beneath. A peacock admired himself in the reflecting door as we nudged the glasses last week.
James, the viticulturer, had planned four shiraz wines and managed their vines accordingly. Two were from vineyards he considers sufficiently distinctive and suitable to be released as single vineyard wines, to offer numerous points of difference for discussion about the nature of McLaren Vale shiraz. Another is a cross-vineyard blend, designed to follow the style of his earlier releases; the fourth is a shiraz viognier.
“I have planned these from the vineyards up”, he said, introducing a string of barrel samples. “This exercise is to test my plan, to ensure the wines are sound and true to my original goal, or if any of them require tweaking or blending.”
The wines from Dudley Brown’s Inkwell vineyard, near the Gulf on California Road, was tighter than most shiraz, reflecting an uncommonly dense grape cell structure: elegant, but highly focused and intense. No changes required. Next was the contrasting monster from the piedmont of Sellicks Hill, from the vines of Paul Petagna. Whilst closer to typical Vales shiraz, with its cuddly big chocolate and licorice, this, too, was tight with mighty tannins, and ever so gradually tapered off into a tail uncommonly elegant and refined after such an opening. Right on the knocker.
The blended wine, from various sources, followed closely the earlier Lazy Ballerina style – read masterly - and the last, the shiraz viognier, is a lesson to those who mindlessly blend these varieties in the name of fashion alone. No peach syrup in this baby. Uh-huh. It had all the austere acid and tannin elegance of the first three wines, but with the added tannic finesse that only tiny additions of early-picked, cool-climate, co-fermented viognier have to offer.
Only one barrel was faintly suss, still showing a little lazy malo-lactic ticking away. It’ll be fine when the Lazy Ballerina tasting room opens in the spring. Which is something worth waiting for, given the maker’s success in defining the flavours of his finished wines in advance, then selecting and managing the vineyards to achieve his goal. We have a new benchmark forming up, there in the forest. I’m hooked.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
WBM magazine says - I like McNaren Vale as I heard a Hong Kong VIP call it. The only thing that should be changed is politicans with stupid ideas.
Steve Lindner says - Always a worry when a polly is suggesting change, I've always loved the name, don't change!!
Jessie Morris says - Fair call. I like the fact that McLaren Vale is so different to the Barossa...I don't think SA needs two wine 'valleys'!
Jet Robins says - Not a fan Mr Hook. It's the Vale (plus the Flat). Plus, linguistically I find McLaren Vale easier to reel off.
Chris Dix says - Obviously none of you or politicians are aware of Clare Valley, a historic winemaking region just 120km north of Adelaide....
Laura Jackson says - MacLaren Vale - I'm lovin' it. TM
Margot King says - I live in the Barossa and used to live near McLaren Vale. There is no need to change the names. Why do people with nothing better to do think that changing a place name will in any way benefit those who live and work in the region?
Lara Winsor says - It doesn't work, just confuses people more and dilutes the message.
The Atherton Tablelands in North QLD changed it's name to The Cairns Highlands by pollies & tourism 'experts' a few years ago. The locals still call it Tablelands, tourist...s know it as Highlands and confusion abounds! I suggest anyone who gets confused that a town & region have the same name aren't the sort to appreciate to difference between a Cab Sav and a Sav Blanc.
Lazy Ballerina says Coonawarra Valley - just like the Barossa but with more Cabernet.
Rymill Winery says via twitter - Coonawarra Valley? Just like the Barossa? <- Requires one very large iron there, more germans here.
Tim Hardy says - Took the words right out of my mouth Chris and lets not forget Eden Valley. valley count so far 4!!!
Ashley Coats says - Valley Ale?!? Sounds like something teenage girls in the 80's would drink.
Trudi Duffield says - Sounds like a lolly?
Shane Barker says - Just what we need - more confusion!
Yvonne Arnold says - Nah, we've got used to it being a Vale, and its known world wide as McLaren Vale via the wine industry.
Susan Read says - An Italian backpacker friend of mine is still convinced it's called McClaren Valley also my phone's predictive text won't allow the word "Vale".
Karra Yerta Wines says - I'm still trying to process the woman with the chair - :) Can we slow all these changes down a lil bit?:)
Douglas Colin Tapfield says - This is retarded. Is he proposing to keep the the town named McLaren Vale but rename the area McLaren Valley? It's already more confusing.
Matthew Stuckey says - My branding advice would be exactly the contrary. By trying to piggy back on the Barossa's name, the Vale would only lose brand recognition and always come off as the lesser of the two. From a tourism aspect I much prefer McLaren Vale to the Barossa exactly because it is more compact and therefore scenic, you can see most of the vale from up on the hill which is great for touristy wine region photos.
Is this "confusion about the broad area it covers" keeping people awake a night? Why change to pander to the lowest common denominator (people who get confused by the word 'vale' in the obvious context of a valley?
Annika Berlingieri says - McLaren Valley - Where one Valley leads to the Vale???
Dan Procter says - Vale Ale's in trouble, would it be called Valley Ale?
Keith Rutherford says - Don't be ridiculous!!! McLaren Vale is what is has always been known as, don't mess with the brand!!! Change Barossa Valley to Barossa Vale instead!!!
Keith Rutherford says - It is the start of March, not the 1st of April, by the way.... Someone is a bit early for April Fools Day!!!
Travis William Armener says - Considering, geographically, that McLaren Vale isn't actually a valley, it seems a bit stupid. Changing the name "just because" seems pointless, and we will just be tagged as, "riding the coat tails" of the Barossa. I think politicians should concentrate on more important issues, like saving McLaren Vale from urban sprawl. Stopping Seaford Heights seems like a much more important issue to be working on!
John Maddock says -It's all about the brand!
Need to be careful about messing with the brand. McLaren Vale is now an international brand that has a high value. It is a given that the brand encompasses more than the people, produce and experiences of a town. One... of the strengths of a vale is that it extends into the hills and valleys that surround it.
King Island is a stunning success of a brand but it has come to mean much more than just the richness and purity of its dairy produce. Tasmania's north and north/west has particularly benefited from strength and drawing power of the brand.
What about Clare Valley .... mmm riesling:)
Sandra Sharp says -Think Mr Bignell needs to find something else to do with his time. Surely his energy could be better spent in lobbying for McLaren Vale to be recognised as a region (as the Barossa is) and then we would get better funding instead of being lumped in with the Fleurieu Peninsula.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
The downpour and strong wind gusts brought down trees and led to flash flooding late on Tuesday.
Emergency crews rescued a woman at Eudunda after her car got swept along a flooded road.
Swan Reach recorded nearly 70 millimetres of rain.
Nuriootpa and Kapunda had readings of more than 40 millimetres.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
|NOBEL ROT IN SEMILLON GRAPES IN FRANCE.|
|BOTRYTIS IN SHIRAZ.|