It’s golden hour in McLaren Vale’s north east.
The sun casts its gaze over Yangarra Estate’s Ironheart vineyard before disappearing behind a little stone cottage and melting into the horizon.
The L-shaped biodynamic vineyard wraps its arms around the abode.
Here, wine scribe Philip White, or Whitey as he is affectionately known, sits on the porch and watches the scene unfold.
He does so every day if his health permits it.
He’s not alone.
Two miniscule birds are nearby, darting to a gap in the roof where their chorus of hungry, chirping chicks await.
“Hello chickadee, you’ve got a little lerp,” Philip says with affection.
“This is my friend Katie. She’s okay. She’s not going to hurt you or your babies.”
He pauses. “Aren’t they gorgeous? They’re like little rockets.
I love them.”
It is humbling to be considered a friend of Philip’s.
He’s known many colourful characters in his time. Talk deeply and he can ruminate for hours, but he doesn’t suffer fools.
If he objects to something, he tells you – in no uncertain terms. He doesn’t mince words, preferring to carve them like a Samurai.
• See Katie Spain’s full interview with Philip White in WBM – Australia’s Wine Business Magazine.