Good evening all, a quick update from the Between Five Bells desk.
Vintage is numbingly hectic for Ray & Alex as they work furiously on their Lethbridge wines. It’s much more sedate on the Between Five Bells front, as the B5B block is still another week or so from picking, (though the small amount of 2013 WHITE is ticking away).
I thought it might be as good a time as any to get in a quick message from the desk.
It would be negligent of me not to pull the “I was there” card regarding the recent Rootstock festival in Sydney last month, (read more here and here), and offer our opinion on it all.
Firstly, it could by no reasonable definition be called anything other than a success. The intoxicating atmosphere of like-minded people sharing their guilty geekiness was a joy to see. Whether it was “important” or “game-changing” will be decided by the unimpeachable judgment of time, no matter how many moustache accented high-fives were fired up.
We met many people that had heard of our wines and it was fun to pour and chat. The vinous free-love spirit made for some relaxed and non-judgmental discourse. We liked it, and really wish the event’s future well. Congratulations have to go to the organisers, with a commitment to vision that is worthy of respect.
There was one aspect, however, that had me pondering the fragile nature of the various threads that hold the pure-wine movement together. We, like the Rootstock crowd in general, are quite big on the “sustainable” aspect of wine production. (Even though I think that word is almost always misused in our industry).
This had me thinking about the various winebars through Australia that rush to pour you a glass of a village wine from some far-flung local, wondering why on earth it made its way across the globe to my table. Not because the wine is not worthy of drinking and contemplation, they often are; it’s just a strange concept to align with the sustainable wine movement. As if we shouldn’t for one second consider the apparent contradiction in a movement based so firmly in the idea of “local”.
We feel it ourselves. Luckily, we have so far been able to sell our wines out each year in the local markets of Sydney and Melbourne, yet we can’t help but covet the idea of people drinking our wines overseas. We sell small amounts to Japan and the US, and I imagine there’s some guy or girl sitting in a winebar right now wondering why on earth they’re drinking a weird wine from Geelong.
We recently hosted the stellar US wine writer, Lily-Elaine Hawk Wakawaka. I must declare it was organized under the pretense that Elaine will offer her other great skill, drawing, to create a label for the new H-COTE red we are releasing in July. (That is exciting).
She proved an excellent mind and palate to have around for a day and a bit. Also, having read some of her early reports back from her trip around Victoria, she offered some exceedingly insightful thoughts on where Australian wine sits in both style and quality.
Without looking to belittle anyone with this statement, it also made we wish there were more wine-writers in this country that aren’t stuck in the 80 words plus a score style of writing. Online, long-form writing is a rare-bread in any industry, so it’s refreshing to see someone dedicate so much time to such a generous yet often thankless pursuit…
There’s not much else to report on. As mentioned, we’ll pick the Between Five Bells block in about a week, so the next time we talk I’ll offer some thoughts on the vintage and upcoming wines in general.
We also have a little bit more 2012 ROSÉ. With the gentle late summer heat still around, please grab a six-pack.