David Lloyd of Mornington Peninsula winery Eldridge Estate received a letter a few months ago from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation asking for a donation.
He didn’t hesitate to chip in because he had spent four months at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre from December 2019 recovering from cancer.
“I dutifully sent off $100,” David says.
“I only pay myself $40,000 a year so even that was a stretch, but I felt really bad.
“The place saved my life and all I could donate was a paltry $100.”
Then he had an idea.
He was diagnosed with stage four cancer in December 2019 and missed the 2020 vintage.
A team of people stepped in to manage the vines, pick the grapes and make the wines.
Jeni Port and Ed Merison put the word out to restaurants who placed orders.
Eldridge Pinot Noir is normally spread across at least three wines – the flagship Estate ($70), the single Clone MV6 ($75) and the ‘Reserve’ called Clonal Selection ($85).
But because of the difficult circumstances, only one Pinot Noir was made in 2020 – and a little under five barrels of it.
David decided to draw attention to the work of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation by calling the wine the Burkitt Blend.
“Dennis Burkitt being the doctor that first reported what I had, Burkitt Lymphoma,” David says.
It is the first time David has used all eight clones in a single wine and it is essentially the same blend and oak regime he would use in the $85 Clonal Blend.
David is selling the Burkitt Blend for $70 a bottle with $20 from every bottle sold by 30 August donated to the Peter McCallum Cancer Foundation.
“It would normally take me 12 months to sell that quantity, maybe longer, so I am trying to go all out to sell it by 30 August with the aim of donating $30,000 to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation.”
You can only buy the wine from Eldridge Estate as a six-pack ($420) or a 12-bottle case ($840) which includes freight.
David can’t thank people enough for their help and support.
“To say I am grateful to the hospital and the fabulous support of my local colleagues would be a massive understatement,” he says.
David has had two cancer scares in recent years and is currently in remission.