My journey with wine began with a trip to the Barossa with my olds when I was a poor uni student. My realisation that wine as a thing, maybe even a joyous one was a Grant Burge's cellar door, tasting the 89 Sauvignon Blanc. Now that I think back, in hindsight there's not too much right about that equation.. Barossa Valley - tick Barossa Valley & 1989 - be-bow! Barossa Valley & Sauvignon Blanc - be-bow! Hear me out though, it was the first wine I bought, and also the first wine I properly tasted. The next stop on the family trip was to Rockford and I bought a couple of bottles of Basket Press Shiraz and a bottle of Vine Vale Riesling ... this was definitely a steep learning curve in tasting and exploration and from that point onwards I was hooked and by the time I’d finished uni I realised I needed to work in the wine industry. Whilst selling wine in a couple of retail outlets, I blagged my way into doing a vintage at Domaine Chandon (Coldstream, Vic) in 1998 and the somehow ended up with a full-time job as vineyard serf and cellar rat at Picardy in Pemberton, WA. Before heading to the West it was time for a farewell dinner, a stack of good wines and good people. Still one of the most memorable moments of my life was devouring the magnum of 1953 Chateau Haut Brion I'd picked up the year previous (back when these could be had without taking out a second mortgage). The wine was mind blowingly complex, long and intensely fruited, assertively angular Cabernet tannins, softening but not sawn off, youthful, smooth, cigar boxy and bloody beautiful. A wine I'm very unlikely to ever taste again but an experience that I'll never forget.