Friend to Australian wine Queen Elizabeth II watched over Tasmanian winemaker Peter Dredge during the judging for the Adelaide Hills Wine Show at Oakbank Soldiers Memorial Hall about 1o years ago.
The award-winning picture, taken by Grant Nowell, was published in long-gone Adelaide Hills Magazine.
Elizabeth liked a gin and Dubonnet with two ice cubes and a lemon wedge.
Many of her 16 visits to Australia involved wineries – a reminder of the importance and enjoyment of wine.
There are many Queens in Aussie wine: Black Queen, Queen Adelaide and Dandelion Red Queen of the Eden Valley Shiraz to name a few.
Then there are the crowns: Four Crown Port, crown seals and the crown on Seppeltsfield’s logo.
And every year McLaren Vale’s best winemaker is crowned Bushing Monarch and given robes and a crown to wear.
Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon was inspired by the first visit of a reigning monarch to our shores in 1954.
Elizabeth was only 27 years old back then.
In 1974 Queen sang dynamite with a laser beam and three years later Kaiser Stuhl Chateau came out with something guaranteed to blow your mind – a Queen Elizabeth Jubilee Port “by special permission”.
In 2002 Elizabeth visited the suburb named after her.
In nearby Gawler she got on the now-defunct Barossa Wine Train that John Geber from Chateau Tanunda wants to revive, and drank sparkling in the rose garden at Barossa Chateau with Baron Hermann Thumm, the greeting party all old codgers and women being invited to these things in recent years would have pleased Liz when it came to the small talk and hand shaking.
Queen Elizabeth II was a strong woman.
If Prince Andrew was Prosecco with a dash of Bobo cordial, Liz was the 100-Year-Old Para Tawny.
Liz and her corgies spent their lives in The Ballroom at Buckingham Palace watching a steady stream of royals come in and sit on the couch and explain their rebelliousness, recklessness, drunkenness, nakedness and inappropriate fancy-dress costumes.
The Queen handled it all with grace and dignity.
Strong and constant.
A true matriarch.
Always with a smile.
Not really; only when a corgy cocked its leg on a servant’s shoe or Philip told another dad joke or Ozzy Osbourne sang Paranoid to her.
Now we have to see a picture of King Charles III every time we spend 20 cents; the best-ever advertisement for a cashless society.
Don’t get too down.
As Dad used to say, you can spend too long on the throne; he knocked on the door and reminded me every morning.
Dead-eye-dick Dredge with the spit bucket, have a drink for the wonderful woman who watched over you.
On this darkest of days, raise a glass of Black Queen to the optimistic thought that half the world is sticky-taped together by grief and sadness – and that something good will surely come out of that.
• This is a version of an article first published in our weekly newsletter The Week That Was.
• Grant Nowell’s photograph won Wollongong City Gallery’s annual photo portrait prize.
• Do you have a Queen Elizabeth II story? Let us know. Email [email protected].