FEBRUARY 2017                                                                                         Issue # 4  

Reasons to be Cheerful 

Well we've made it to issue 4 of the Busby Bugle newsletter. And they said it'd never last. Top billing in this edition goes to the long-awaited Tour Report from 2016. We suggest you only tackle this if you have a large glass of wine to hand and at least half an hour to spare. Weighing in at 160 pages with over 20,000 words and almost 400 photos it's a hefty read. In the meantime we hope you enjoy the slightly more slimline Busby Bugle, bringing you zero fake news and all the Best Words (they're great, the best, you'll love them) twice a year with news and updates from both our Alumni community and wineries. 

With so much crazy going on in the world at least there's good news from Wine Australia, whose recent export stats show that Australian wine is on an upward curve once again. In 2016 export value grew by 7%, volume by 1% and the average value of wine exported is the highest since 2009. See the full report here. Continuing with statistics it is estimated that over 90% of this growth is attributable (allegedly) to the James Busby Travel Alumni Community (source:BuzzFeed). Remarkable as this Alternative Fact may be, it's no surprise when you consider that the Alumni Community now stands at 114 wine trade professionals from over a dozen countries. See what they've been up to in the Alumni News below. Meanwhile it's summer here in Australia and the wineries are gearing up for Vintage 2017. Most wine regions experienced a wet winter and cool spring, bringing much needed rain and a slow start to the season with many regions reporting that they are tracking two to three weeks behind average, which in fact is the "old normal". As well as the usual news and updates I've included three of my top reasons to be cheerful in this edition of the Busby Bugle. Thanks to all the Alumni contributors and wineries who sent in their news, wishing everyone a successful #V17 and a very happy Year of the Rooster. 

Ever wondered what we get up to on the rest of the Busby tour? 
The 2016 Tour Report provides a day-by-day, wine-by-wine tour diary.
Written by the group, what goes on tour goes in here! 
Click below...


Our Alumni Community now stands at 114 members and we're in touch with every single one of them. Since the first trip in 2010 it's been great to see how people's careers have progressed, with many Alumni moving jobs, moving up in their professions or achieving MW or MS credentials. We've already got the Alumni Reunions in the diary, so if any Busby winemakers are in Hong Kong, Shanghai or London on the following dates you'd be very welcome to join us. The only rule is BYO an Australian bottle. Hong Kong 20th April, Shanghai 17th May, London 23rd May. We hope to see you there! 

Fastest Reunions Ever! 
Talking of Alumni Reunions, barely a month following the end of the 2016 tour Mary Thompson, one of our #LALadySomms sent the photo above left with this note,  
"I hung out with Sarah Crowe from Yarra Yering in Malibu, Venice, K-town & Santa Monica... We kinda tore up LA... and wrote David a sweet note from the beach..." 
Meanwhile on the other side of the pond Ian Brosnan (also Alumni JBT 2016) Wine Manager at Elys (officially Dublin's biggest and best wine bar group) sent this selfie of him with Mary's Operations Manager Marianna and her husband Justin who were in Ireland on holiday. Ian tells me they were in a Dublin pub called Keogh's, one of the best "old man" pubs in the city. If you're a Busby Alumni and meet a Busby Winemaker in your market (or visa versa) send us a selfie from a beach and recommend an old mans pub. 
In career news David Vareille (Alumni JBT16) has recently taken up position as Head Sommelier at The Arts Club London. Earlier this month David wrote, "As you know I never been able to pronounce MANDARIN ORIENTAL correctly, so I decided to leave the company and work for an another one that I can pronounce correctly. My friends from LA I’ll see you next year as I’ll be opening the Arts Club there, until then I’ll be based at the Arts Club in London and then open Dubai, the city London, LA and a few others." Busy boy! We'll crack a screw capped savvy to celebrate David! 
From Ian Dai, Alumni 2014: "I have become the wine and spirit buyer for Amazon China. The photo attached is a selfie taken in Amazon Beijing Office, in the middle of the night, I was working overtime. E-Commerce in China is highly competitive. Australia has overcome France to become the no.1 wine country of origin in Amazon China representing about 40% of our total wine sales. All the best!" Cheers Ian - love the slightly clandestine vibe to your message! 
Staying in China, Marcus Ford (Busby 2012) wrote to me with an update on the launch of Langton's Asia. As well as being General Manager of Pudao Wines Marcus is also the new Head of Wine for Langton's East Asia.
"We have had an incredibly busy few months in Hong Kong with Langton’s East Asia getting up to speed with a series of events to spread the word. From unpacking containers to grand Charity Auctions and much else in between we are going well and establishing a great brokerage team in Hong Kong focussed on fine wines with an Australian accent. The range is looking strong in Hong Kong and access from the group’s buying is fabulous both for Australian connections and globally.
We are on Facebook and Instagram too these days so do come and say hi over there, https://www.facebook.com/langtonseastasia/
Hope all is well!!" 

(the photo above was taken at Fu Kee Seafood Restaurant (no sniggering at the back) on the island of Lamma, where an evening cruise for local trade guests marked the launch of Langton's Asia last September. Marcus tells me he's been visiting this restaurant since he was a kid in the 1970s) 
Congratulations to Sonal Holland MW on achieving those two little letters after her name last year. Sonal came on the second ever Busby trip in 2011, and was one of the reasons why we laughed so much that year, bringing her energy, humour and laughter to the back of Wayne's bus. Sonal is the founder of SOHO Wine Club and the Sonal Holland Wine Academy which offers certified WSET wine courses and consultancy to hotels and the trade. She is the wine and beverage consultant to ITC Hotels, India’s second largest luxury hotel chain, and hosts a digital channel ‘Sonal Holland Wine TV’, dedicated to wine education and entertainment. Sonal's website is here. Her MW Research Paper was on "Awareness, attitude and usage of wine among SEC A urban Indian wine consumers". 
From Gabby Stone, Alumni 2014: 
"I am bracing myself to be blacklisted from the JBT Alumni: we're now selling English wine to Australia! Yes, you read that correctly. A festive quantity of Digby Fine English Brut NV set sail through The British Bottle Company earlier this year and is now on sale to intrepid Aussies – proof attached. I hope that other Busby-ites are more than redressing that trade balance." 
She adds: "Sadly no wombat in the office, though I do work with Mr Johnson's son!" (this is true, Gabby does indeed work with Hugh Johnson's son, whose name is, appropriately, Red Johnson - ed)
From Yoshiko Takahashi, Alumni JBT12
"My news 2016 is that I’ve completed WSET Diploma, finally. I remember that my WSET level 3 exam was scheduled right after my return from Busby trip in 2012, so I was traveling with my textbook but few times to open it." Yoshi is a wine educator at Academie du Vin Tokyo (Japan's oldest and largest wine school) and acts as a freelance interpreter for English speaking wine professionals. 

Huge congrats Yoshi, MW next? 
From Sylvia Liu Alumni, Busby 2014: 
"I conducted an Australian wine seminar in Guangzhou in September, featuring some wines I’d discovered during James Busby Trip 2014. The event went very well. Full house…70+ people. Actually, I had to cut down over 10 ppl due to overbooking. Some attendances came to Guangzhou from other cities and a few people from other provinces including Jiangxi and Yunnan provinces."
The seminar focused on wines from Yarra Valley and included Busby wineries Giant Steps, De Bortoli and Oakridge. Sylvia ran the seminar through her own freelance business in association with Yarra Valley Wine and says she's happy to hear from regional bodies who'd like to work with her on similar events. She can be contacted on sylvialingliu@yahoo.com
Where DO the kangaroos sleep??
If you've read the 2016 Tour Report you'll be aware that this philosophical question was posed late one night in the Clare Valley. Dudley Brown from Inkwell Wines suggest that he may have the answer: 
"Irina and I can answer (with photographic proof) the existential question posed by Tim Wildman on the 2016 tour “Where do the kangaroos sleep?”
(that looks suspiciously foot trodden -ed) 
Daniel Turpeinen's Quaffable Wines in Sweden (which champions contemporary Australian wine) goes from strength to strength. Daniel (Alumni 2012) sent this update:
"Just thought I'd update you briefly about what is happening in my company and especially in regards of Australian wines. Two weeks ago I held a tasting for new Australia in our offices and the turn up was great. Several of the leading journalists attended and so did key sommeliers. This was so far the largest event for this style of wines in Sweden so there is definently a huge interest. Also this Monday Vingruppen held their annual portfolio tasting which over 160 restaurants attended and I had a smaller selection of my portfolio there including wines from Oakridge, Ocean Eight, Ministry of Clouds and Spinifex. Also here there was a great revelation for many of the new styles of Australia and after these two events several wines are sold out. At the moment I also have wine on the sea from Ruggabellus and Murdoch Hill and will place an order for another one of my favourite producers very soon to add to the portfolio. I have included one photo from the “New wave of Australia” I held where you can see me and Andreas Larsson (the first Swedish world champion in sommelier) in the background (also Busby Alumni 14 - ed). The other photo is from the portfolio tasting of Vingruppen with some restaurant clients tasting Oakridge." 
In other Swedish news, Jan Petersen (Busby 2011) has moved to the role of Business Developer at Vinia. Jan tells me they currently work with Battle of Bosworth (their website shows a photo of a suspiciously young Joch Bosworth) and are interested in working with more Australian producers.
In other Alumni career move news Senthil Kulandhaisamy (Busby 2011) has recently joined Negociants UK. Senthil sent me this message saying how the Busby trip back in 2011 influenced this move "Finally makes sense what Steve Jobs meant - "You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. James Busby Travels - so many wineries, so many wines and so many stories... and life dragging me south...didn't know how everything was going to ever connect...until now." 
Berenice Axisa (Busby 201) who loved Australia so much she's never left, has recently moved to take up the position as Sales Manager at Longview Wines in the Adelaide Hills. 
I came across a great interview with Will Costello MS (Busby 2014) in the September edition of The Somm Journal. Locals in The Astral Hotel in Adelaide still whisper in hushed tones about the night Will walked in rocking a bow tie and white kicks. Andy Xu (Busby 2016) emailed to wish me a happy new year and to tell me what he was drinking to see in the new year, a dodgy looking pét-nat made by some Pommie MW in South Australia. AMAAAAZING ANDY. 1000 points! 
The Hosemaster of Wine
If you've not yet discovered the satirical genius that is Ron Washam's alter ego The Hosemaster of Wine then 2017 is the year to do so. Ron has been skewering the pomposity and pretension of the wine industry on his blog since 2009, but only since last year has he gone officially mainstream with guest spots on websites such as The Wine Advocate and TimAtkin.com. Plus when George Reidel tries to sue you, you know you've hit the big time. His latest blog post is entitled New Wineries to Watch Fail. Check it out and enjoy the best humorous wine writing on the web. 
Talking of blogs, I'm still amazed that some people aren't aware that the best wine writing on earth is available every Monday for free, courtesy of Andrew Jefford on Decanter.com. 
DOGS DOGS DOGS. They're a marketeer's dream. Cats may be more popular on YouGoogleTube, but give me a furry, four legged dish-licker any day. And a dish-licker in a winery is even better. No one knows this better than the creators of the Wine Dogs book, now in it's 18th edition (can that be right?). The photo was sent by Louise Hemsley-Smith from Battle of Bosworth, proud owner of Connie ("le saucisson") and Oscar ("best dog in the world") who made it into the current edition. If those pups aren't looking at a meat based product out of camera then I'm a monkeys uncle. 
Brad Hickey aka Brash Higgins wrote to say "We just won the Rule Breaker Award at the SA Hot 100. that's good news. Here a pic of Nick Ryan at least. Also stoked to be working in Toronto with The Living Vine now. And Burnt Ends in Singapore with Andrew Cameron."
For those not familiar with the Hot 100, it's a wine show organised by the Adelaide Review, but it's a wine show with a big difference. Wines are not judged by region or variety but by style and other categories (I'm kind of winging it here having never judged at it - ed), and the emphasis is on awarding drinkability. 
Kate Fleming from Gemtree wrote with this news update:  
Gemtree back in the US!
After a long sabbatical, the AUS-US Team has been reunited! Eymeric Darsch and David Begg from Vinovia in California met with Mike Brown of Gemtree Wines in Sydney recently. Eymeric and David had previously imported Gemtree Wines into the US from 2002 until 2010, when the company they were working for suffered a fairly untimely demise. Fast forward to 2016 and Eymeric and David have built up their own successful import business, Vinovia Wine Group. For all the Busby Alumni in the US, our wine is on its way! In other Gemtree news, our heartfelt thanks to the 2016 group for their help in identifying the correct breed of animal at our cellar door. We had always assumed they were Alpacas, but no! They are lamb-giraffes! To think we’ve been wrong all this time….. (credit to Monsieur D.Vareille)
"Zee cab-baj do not run away from zee corn beef - non?" 
Melissa Gjergja from Kooyong and Port Philip Estate sent me her news in three easy sections - thanks Melissa!  
New Markets
Kooyong Wines is excited to announce East Meets West Fine Wines (EMW) are distributing Kooyong Wines in Greater China. Wines available from March 2017. 
New toys…new under vine mower helping us to be herbicide free. 
More new toys…adding to our 3,000 litre foudres arsenal from François Frères.  
Staying on The Mornington Peninsula Mike Aylward from Ocean 8 reports "The Mornington Peninsula has had a very cool spring. The vines are as healthy as I have seen them and flowering (one of our most critical times of the year) is late and almost complete (this was back in early December - ed). From here on in the bunches begin to develop slowly  and if we maintain a low crop and manage a healthy canopy we are setting up for a ripping vintage. Can't wait for that first batch of verve chardonnay and pinot to arrive." When I asked for a photo to illustrate his news he sent me this shot with the comment "Start them early I say". Cheers Mike, you clearly understand the target demographic of this publication, if you don't have a shot of a winery dish-licker then an ankle-biter drinking wine is the next best thing. (is it me or does he look like Halliday sniffing a cork?)
Marni Greenshields from Kilikanoon sent me this great story: 
Here at Kilikanoon, we have been launching our new Killerman’s Run labels. The labels tell the story of Mr Killerman, the real life legend of the Clare Valley who lived in a humble tin shed, and foraged through the Clare Valley for his meals; wild rabbit was one of his favourite treats, as depicted on the front label. A legendary story teller, Mr Killerman gained a loyal audience of local kids. one of whom was Mort Mitchell, our founder and chief winemaker’s father, who sat around his campfire.
Inspired from this true story, we went about to capture the essence of the Clare Valley's natural landscape. It seemed like a good idea initially, to taxi 8 of the Kilikanoon team, 2 photographers, countless props, equipment and food across the length and breadth of the valley. We were at the mercy of the elements. Uneven ground in the cottage, dust, debris, drenching rain at the campfire shoot… Luckily our fire was strong enough to withstand the downpour, while we ran and piled into the ute – fogging up the windows and shivering with cold! Ironically, the next day our struggle was with harsh sunlight casting dark shadows on the hilly ridge. Not to mention how quickly the wild grass had grown since our initial reccy, so 20 minutes of focused circle work in the ute was required to flatted it sufficiently.
But we got the money shots, and we couldn’t be happier! And our photographers, as amazing as they were, said they would never do it again.

Great yarn Marni - thanks! 
Prue Langhans at d'Arenberg wrote to tell us that d’Arry Osborn celebrated his 90th birthday on the 27 of December. 2016 was a huge year for d’Arry having received the WCA Legend Of The Vine Award earlier in the year, and apparently also nailing his first fist bump in July (Tash?). Photographer and author Milton Wordley recently profiled d'Arry in his People of Wine blog, which is an inspiring read. In other d'Arenberg news, Chester's Cube continues to rise above the McLaren Vale landscape like something dreamt up by Dali and Willie Wonka after a few too many bottles of the Dead Arm. This will be a game changer for South Australia's wine tourism when it opens later this year, bringing the yin to Seppeltsfield's yang.   
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE! The Adelaide Advertiser reports on a behind-the-scenes preview tour of the Cube. Read about it here.  
The Netherlands Introductory video for Donald J Trump 
As it's gone viral around the world you may already have seen this spoof promotional video from a Dutch TV show introducing the Netherlands to Trump in a language he can understand. It's great, it really is, you'll love it. Better still dozens of other European nations have been releasing their own spoof tourism ads in the last week as reported by The Huffington Post. You gotta laugh or you'd cry. 
With the thermometer threatening to nudge 40 in Adelaide this week (that's over 100F) what I felt the newsletter really needed, especially for our Northern Hemisphere friends, was a photo of a large man in a big hat cooling off in an open fermenter filled with water. Cue the annual shot of Ian Adams under the avo trees (photo credit Battle of Bosworth).  
La La Land the movie 
I'm aware that it's not exactly original to be enthusiastic about this film, but if you need a feel-good-shot-in-the-arm you could do a lot worse. If you fail to walk out of this film with a spring in your step, tap dancing down the street or inexplicably swinging around lamp posts for a few days afterwards, you should go and see your doctor immediately. Your heart may have stopped beating. Watch the trainer here 
Copyright © 2017 James Busby Travel, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp