It doesn’t always happen, but if the topic of conversation, the setting and the connection is right, there’s a moment during an interview when a person’s exterior cracks open and their soul spills out like daybreak across Krondorf vineyards.
That moment with Charlie Melton didn’t happen during a chat on the cellar door veranda, surrounded by a menagerie of pets vying for a spot in front of the wood fire.
It didn’t happen during a stroll through the Charles Melton winery in which he works side-by-side with his daughter, Sophie, nor did it occur while strolling past gnarly bushvine Grenache vineyards, toward a 1864 church-turned luxury ‘The Kirche’ accommodation.
It happened later, around the dinner table, between bites of roast chicken lovingly prepared by Charlie’s wife Virginia.
As Charles Melton Sparkling Red and a bottle of 2018 Chateau Leoville Barton flowed, so too did 50 years of Barossa winemaking memories.
Conversation turned to the vine pull and a particular moment at the Peter Lehmann weighbridge.
“An old bloke called Albert Schmidt came in one day during the middle of the vine pull. Peter Lehmann said he couldn’t take any grapes. Albert said, ‘You’ve got to take my grapes… I’ve grown these grapes all this year and it will be a sin against God if I don’t pick them.’
“His genuine burn-in-hell belief was that he would be sinning if he didn’t pick that fruit.
“When you think back, it’s deep.”
Photos: Ben Macmahon.