June 2022: ‘You Can Definitely Ask Too Many Questions’.

Recently I had the great fortune to be selected in the 2022 Australian Wine Industry Mentor
Program (as a Mentee to be clear, not a Mentor…obviously). Anyone in the industry who knows me
would agree that I like to ask a lot of questions. All the time. About everything. I’m genuinely curious
as to how this wine business works.

When the opportunity came up to formalise this line of enquiry, of course I gave it a crack. It’s a 6-
month program that matches us mentees with someone who is highly experienced and at the top of
their field within the Wine Industry. I’ve been extremely fortunate to be matched with Jared Stringer
– CEO and Vigneron of The Lane Vineyard in the Adelaide Hills. Thankfully, he is a patient man and
generously gives his time to answer my endless queries and indulge my left of center musings.

So last month, Emma and I travelled over to Adelaide. On the Friday night we caught up with our
wonderful distribution team Clutch Wine and fellow winemaker Alexi Christidis of CHALARI fame.
Dinner was absolutely incredible at Clutch’s namesake restaurant in Henley Beach. I was still
rabbiting on about the bone marrow dish in the taxi to Hellbound wine bar. Sorry team! On the
Saturday, we made the trip up to the beautiful Adelaide Hills to meet with Jared at Lane Vineyard for
his own personal Royal Commission into how wine works.

As a side note, on the 40-min journey up to the Adelaide Hills, I couldn’t help but compare the
elevation and topographical differences to our own Margaret River region. From the steep slopes,
micro climates, temperature ranges and to the soil profiles exposed in building the highway –
everything seems more exaggerated up there. It’s no wonder the Hills are home to some of the best
terroir driven wines in the country. “Yeah but they don’t have any decent surf nearby…” I thought to
myself.

Upon arriving at the Lane Vineyard, Emma and I were blown away by the 360 degree view panorama
presented before us. Rolling green hills, meticulously planted vineyards and slopes and aspects of all
kinds to optimize the different varieties planted there. Just stunning.

What I thought would be a quick meet and greet with Jared ended up being a 5 hour affair of
vineyard touring, barrel sampling, wine-nerd talk and above all an incredibly indulgent 8 (or maybe it
was 10?) course long lunch made from local produce (including Jared’s own home grown Lamb), all
the while talking all things wine. The day was such a privilege. I walked out of there inspired and
armed with so many ideas, thoughts and a dozen of their best bottles.

Emmsy and I peppered poor Jake with questions all day and to his credit he answered every single
one as best he could in a most professional manner. I even made him show me what kind of barrel
steamer he had… “Serenity Now!” he was probably thinking.

– Rhys