Will Hoare, chairman of the Family of XII, and father of three little girls under five one of whom is a matter of weeks old, met us on Saturday morning with a broad grin and a scarce ticket for the Sauvignon Blanc conference before bundling us in his Land Rover, and heading for the hills. For a man who had only enjoyed a few hours’ sleep for some weeks, he was in good form; full of information and new ideas.
I was pleased to see some chooks, cleverly coralled around a row of fruit bushes and no doubt contributing to the very large compost heap of which Will is justifiably proud.
Its covers came off a day or so earlier in anticipation of visitors; and its quality is assured by the addition of cow pats, gathered from the three resident and very contented cows, grazing the river bed. Even nettles are cultivated and used as a spray to help retain the leaves after harvest, and by so doing, strengthen the vines.
The compost was impressively friable and sweet smelling. I must increase my efforts at home. Water is the trick, I suspect, and some very hot days.
After the establishment and success of some pretty large wineries in the region Will’s energies by contrast focus on the small scale; organic basics, and the challenges of growing fine and distinctive wines from single vineyards on slopes.
But he’s exploring another much more significant point of difference from his neighbours; or to be more accurate, a unique selling point: use of the humble cork.
Will’s a brave man ! I’ve no doubt http://www.winefriend/org/blog will have something to say on this when the conference is over.
Thank you Will, for your part in organising the Family of XII scholarship, and for making us both so welcome. And thankyou for your company at the Gala night of the Sauvignon Blanc conference on table 3. It was a great evening !