November 30, 2015

I don’t often get nervous before speaking at an event, but there was indeed more than the usual very faint flutter about me as I stood up last week to address The Hancock Society at Masani’s Restaurant in Carlton, Victoria. This society, which originated within the history faculty at Melbourne Grammar School, my old stamping ground, is today populated by history teachers from various schools around Victoria, plus a number of friends of Melbourne Grammar and retired teaching staff. Breezily compered by the Society’s founder and big cheese, Glenn Matthews, their events include a dinner featuring Masani’s traditional Italian cuisine, plenty of wine and a guest speaker whose role is to inform and entertain.

My task was to talk about the early history of planting grapevines for winemaking in Australia, discussing the modern pursuit of wines that reflect terroir and drill into how the wine industry’s founding fathers typically chose their sites rather wisely indeed. Taking this a step further, you can actually see how the wines of today that are made in similar sites, with similar techniques and varieties, closely resemble what we know and have experienced from wines past.

With several in the audience whose dubious pleasure it was to teach me several decades ago, I settled into enjoying the occasion, supported as I was by what I considered to be sufficient number of dates and historical facts to satisfy even the most demanding historian.

It was great fun to reconnect with a number of old friends and schoolmasters, and through the process of planning my talk, I think I have come up with an interesting future article. Wine, of course is no exception: history does have a habit of repeating itself!

To learn more about using Jeremy Oliver to help arrange and entertain with wine at your next corporate event, please click here.