Tim Wildman MW of James Busby Travel reflects on another successful trip Down Under.
Greetings from Larry Cherubino’s Riversdale Vineyard in Frankland River, Great Southern. Last day of the tour tomorrow.
We started our tour on a yacht on Sydney Harbour on 27 January and we’re ending on a boat on the Swan River in Perth tomorrow evening. In the intervening two weeks the ‘Beyond Busby’ tour (a joint venture between James Busby Travel and Wine Australia) has covered five states (NSW, VIC, SA, TAS, WA), 10 wine regions, tasted 572 wines from 167 different wineries and met with representatives from 131 of those wineries.
It’s an insanely ambitious itinerary that shouldn’t have worked and could have easily gone wrong, there were so many moving parts and pretty much all events being done for the first time. But incredibly it has worked, and worked really, really well. The funding from Wine Australia has allowed us to venture to up-and-coming regions that are barely starting to export, and to include wineries so small and new that they don’t export at all.
We’ve effectively peeled away every layer of the onion, and there are no more layers left to go – we’re at the core! This group has seen the most progressive regions and cutting edge artisan wines that contemporary Australia has to offer at a granular level.
Once the tasting notes are forgotten and the vintages move on the really memorable moments of the trip will have been the cultural, recreational, gastronomic and simply fun experiences woven in around the wine tastings.
A cruise on Sydney Harbour, bung cricket at Brokenwood, oysters overlooking the Tamar Valley, an afternoon in MONA, beach cricket at Port Willunga, a tour of d’Arenberg’s Cube, a Welcome to Country by Josh Whiteland of Koomal Dreaming in Margaret River along with a presentation of Wadandi People history and culture including the use of boomerangs for hunting, native plants for washing and an incredible didgeridoo performance, dawn surfing at Redgate Beach in Margaret River, BBQ marron and a tailgate supper as the sun dropped into the Indian Ocean at Joey’s Nose beach in Margs, and, one of the most incredible experiences and possibly a first for a wine tour, a lunch and conversation moderated by Max Allen with Aunty Joy Wandin Murphy of the Wurundjeri People in the Yarra Valley where we talked openly around current indigenous issues.
Thanks to Stu and the team at Wine Australia, thanks to our amazing winery hosts, thank you to the chefs, baristas, surf coaches and bar staff of Australia for TURNING IT ON.
Here’s a sneak preview of the feedback from our guests:
“An insane wine trip! Insane in the true meaning of the word and in the bad-ass meaning! A cross continent experience that will take weeks to process and stay in the memory forever.” – Anders Ohman, founder and director, Gustibus Wine Academy, Sweden
“Planned with the military precision of a Royal Wedding, an amazing snapshot of the modern Australian wine industry combining new, young and enthusiastic winemakers to some older classics. A truly memorable trip. Not to be missed!” – Ronan Sayburn MS, Wine Director, 67 Pall Mall, London
“There are wine tours and there are WINE TOURS! This is a strategic ‘deep dive’ into the forces that are shaping Australian wine past, present and future, young, old, traditional and avant garde. It is an experience beyond description. It turns out that I didn’t really understand anything I thought I knew about these regions. While the international community might consider Australian wine to be a three-piece band, this trip has been a complex orchestral symphony!” – Erik Segelbaum, Beverage Director, Starr Restaurant Group, USA
“News flash! Hardcore Euro-wine fanatic becomes an impassioned and enthusiastic advocate of contemporary Australian wine!!! Just like the sharks swimming off shore, Australian wine continues to move forward relentlessly, with amazing visits, tastings and encounters with some of Australia’s best winemakers. – Richard Harvey aka The Godfather aka Pussy Sausage, Owner Metrovino Calgary
“A once in a lifetime experience that takes wine professionals on a deep dive into Australia’s evolving wine scene.” – Campbell Thomson, Founder and Director, The Wine Republic, Beijing