I recall, in the 1980s a group of Sydney based P.R., advertising-marketing types, and the few journalists that wrote about wine formed a group for round table lunches. Perhaps they gave themselves the title of Wine Writers of NSW as cover for the joy of opening many bottles.
This table has morphed into Wine Communicators of Australia and membership is open to all that care about Australian wine though the number that make a living from wine journalism is tiny. Brother Richard who once wrote about wine, compares groups that begin this way to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association which created the Golden Globe Awards in 1943 to elevate their standing and thus gain access to the studio bosses and invites to the Academy Awards.
Now the importance of social media escaped my attention for far too many years. Travel light by dumping the baggage had been my motto so when relating a story from long ago I lack evidence, a photo a signed menu, or anything at all to prove my presence.
So it was that around 15 years ago, I travelled to Sydney to be made a Legend of the Vine by the Wine Communicators. The founder of Moss Wood, Dr Bill Pannell, also seen as a legend, was present. Bill does not care for me as I had purchased a few cases of Moss Wood Cabernet, all they would supply, in the late 1970s, and with such a tiny quantity decided to use them in a mixed dozen of Australian reds. Bill sent a note complaining that his wines were above mixed dozen status and he would never supply us again.
Goodness me how the Wine Communicators has grown, with national coverage and chapters in NSW, SA and Vic, an executive team and from 2013 a new start. The past was wiped, my legend status lost with new legends beginning from that year.
My response has been to never give up, keep working, even knowing deep down my efforts are just a silly, vain attempt to again be eligible. In the interim I do have a suggestion.
The Legend of the Vine for 2021 has just been awarded to Brian Croser. Since Brian has already been given every recognition that any mere mortal in the wine business needs, may I suggest, since the precedent has been established, that his award be stripped and given to Philip White.
White is the only world class wine writer that has appeared down under. Any writer that begins a tasting note for Penfolds Grange with these lines is my sort of legend…
‘This smells like an old slate gravestone covered with lichen. In the summer. Beneath, you can also smell the old dead Lutheran way down there. They smell a bit like ancient linen in a cupboard not opened for generations. A good place to learn what I mean is the cemetery at Salem, by the Bremer east of Callington’.