If life shows us anything, it’s that everything can change in an instant.
One minute you’re working the floor as head sommelier at Penfolds Magill Estate restaurant and the next, a 400-kilogram hogshead falls on your foot during a freak winery accident, smashing it like glass beneath a wrecking ball.
It was 14 May 2020 and the pandemic was in full swing.
Restaurants were closed due to lockdowns and Marcell Kustos decided to focus his energy (and free time) on his wine brand LUDO.
The mishap happened in the Adelaide Hills, where the wine is made.
“Luckily, we got to the Royal Adelaide Hospital in 30 minutes and I was taken straight to emergency surgery,” Marcell says.
Twelve months and seven surgeries later, he could walk again (though with compromised foot movement).
Not great when you’re a sommelier, or someone who gets a kick out of running.
To add fuel to tumultuous emotions, Marcell was far from his homeland of Hungary and his partner Lisiane Kamimura was a long way from loved ones in Brazil.
“It was tough but I’m fortunate to have a loving partner and many good friends who supported us along the way,” Marcell says.
“Ultimately, the accident made me realise that we often take our health for granted. It taught me to be thankful for the small things in life; like my limbs and being able to walk without pain.”
He had plenty of time to ponder.
“Eight months is a bloody long time to spend sitting in a chair and I needed to do something more than thinking.
“I didn’t want to sit on my arse and do nothing.”
• Read the full eight-page feature story in WBM – Australia’s Wine Business Magazine.