The Wine Coast Whippet, Dec / Jan 2021/22

AMONG THE VINES

Wine, rabbits and Churchill

Bec takes a stroll at her Pertaringa vineyard. PHOTO Supplied.

In this month’s Among The Vines column, RICHARD EVANS meets the great, great, great grand- daughterof amanwidelyrecognised as the pioneer of McLaren Vale winemaking. Little more than two months ago viticulturist Bec Hardy broke the news that her eponymous McLaren Vale winery was about to ship more than 133,500 bottles of McLaren Vale Shiraz, Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc and South Australian Cabernet Sauvignon to the United States. With thewine tobe distributednationally throughout major retail chains it is a major deal at a little more than one quarter of her winery’s total annual output. September was in fact a good month for the Hardys – Bec is joint MD with her husband Richard Dolan at the near picture perfect winery between McLaren Vale and

Blewitt Springs – with the winery named ‘Regional Exporter of the Year 2021’ at the SA Premier’s annual export awards bash. So far so good for the outfit that only last year took over the 'Pertaringa' brand from Bec’s father Geoff, as part of the family's succession planning (her six-year-old daughter Matilda is the, very, long term beneficiary) and set about launching a range of wines under their own label. Bec, as you might gather, is one of those Hardys, descendants of the Thomas Hardy who pitched up in McLaren Vale in 1850 – he is her great, great, great grandfather – and his offspring are seemingly everywhere. “There are so many Hardys, they have about four kids each. So many people have met a Hardy,” she says. Her professional life though is a far more niche affair, just nine staff including Richard who had worked in finance before

overseeing her dad Geoff’s winery and then teaming up, business wise, with Bec. The personal alignment had arrived well before that. “I met Richard three weeks before I moved to Sydney, I came back after that. And then Richard starting working for Dad.” The dual life can prove rewarding in unthought of ways, Canada is an export market partially on the back of the wine dinner tours they attended on their honeymoon across the great North American expanse. The 2021/22 team includes winemaker Bec Swincer whose CV includes a stint as part of an all-female team in California and which specialised in unique blend Napa Valley wines. “We knew we didn’t need someone full-time. Bec has three kids, it gives flexibility,” says the boss. The remit though is extensive. And as well as opening up her Blewitt

Springs home for intimate dining experiences, the couple tend their cellar door which can be frantic at weekends – the Summer Twilight night on December 29 is shaping up as a biggie – while keep an eye out for the free tasting events held regularly throughout the year with food trucks and live music a staple. We taste, on my visit, a Scarecrow sav blanc – a huge seller – and one to be best drunk arguably in the outside and shaded seating area of the cellar door, about one kilometre off McMurtrie Rd. Light and fruity, it’s an instant summer winner with an extra atmosphere bestowed by the winery’s seven-year-old German short haired pointer, Churchill, who is fully focused on searching for rabbits beneath the wooden floor boards while we drink. There are plenty around says Bec. Checking out the wildlife and the wine? Not a bad combo at all.

Churchill the German short haired pointer (and Bec) takes a break from sniffing out rabbits. PHOTO Richard Evans.

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