Trains, Planes, Automobiles and a couple of Ferries!

This week, Laithwaite’s HQ has moved to shiny new offices a stone’s throw from our previous home of 15+ years. All went remarkably smoothly and my lot seem to be very pleased with our new surroundings. But in all the commotion of the build-up and the move, I haven’t found the time to keep on top of my blog.

So I will, for now, hand my diary slot over to winemaker Mark who’s working the 2015 vintage in McLaren Vale, Australia. He’ll give you a real first-hand feel for the life of a ‘flying winemaker.

So here he is …

First View Aus

My first view Down Under

Once again it’s that time of year when I swap my European ‘driving winemaker’ job to become once more a ‘flying winemaker’ for a couple of months. This year’s call has come from the legendary Australian Warren Randall, winemaker and owner of the famous Seppeltsfield Estate (amongst others) in the Barossa.

I met Warren last summer when he visited the Laithwaite Vineyard estates and Le Chai Au Quai in Bordeaux. We had a good chat during a couple of days of tasting a wide variety of wine styles and, of course, my love and passion for Grenache became evident rather quickly! It just so happens that Warren also owns the oldest Grenache vineyards in Australia, at McLaren Vale’s Tinlins winery. Here, one of the world’s most respected winemakers (and current holder of the prestigious Jimmy Watson Trophy) Stephen Pannell is at the winemaking helm. Stephen’s another Grenache freak and I’m looking forward to be working under him for the 2015 harvest!

A couple of days ago I was in a very soggy and cold Bordeaux. But with much of Australia enduring another searing heat-wave summer, the harvest is early and I now find myself heading to Adelaide to work directly for Warren and Steve!

However it seems it’s never a simple task to get from A to B. Or in this case B(ordeaux) to A(ustralia)!

Time was already tight and I needed to get my UK registered car back to the UK before the 16th of February for its MOT. I also had the small task of renewing my passport in my home country of Jersey. Although I am classed as a British citizen, I was actually born non UK or EU so I have to visit home personally to sign the documents to get a passport.

And so the journey began. Drove the length of France, took ferry to Portsmouth, drove to Dorset, dropped car off, took small ferry (very rough to Jersey), got passport, ferry back to UK, train to Southampton, National Express (without the jolly hostess) to London Heathrow, flight to Hong Kong then Hong Kong to Adelaide and finally a taxi from Adelaide airport to Port Willunga.

It was hot and I think the sea was very blue …

Watch this space.


About Tony Laithwaite

Tony Laithwaite, founder of Laithwaite's, whose passion for wine is still going strong!