Food and Drink


Bottled In Balaclava

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There’s that old adage ‘do what you love, love what you do’ that sums up Rory Lane – founder & head vino journeyman at The Story wines. With a degree in ancient Greek literature — and a Masters in Winemaking & Marketing at Monash University — his true tipping point came after a couple of vintage seasons in Oregon’s Adelsheim Vineyards where he got his hands seriously dirty with the Devil’s grape, Pinot Noir.

Through an exchange program, Rory hooked up with two other Aussie wine-maker-wannabes, living together in a ramshackle cabin on the vineyard, with plenty of wine to taste and winemaking to learn and Portland just down the road for great music and entertainment — what wasn’t to like?

He returned to Australia smitten by the wine bug, but without the means to plant or buy a vineyard. So he purchased a passel of grapes from the Grampians and set up shop in a rented space in Balaclava. Now the inner suburb may not appear on any wine region touring maps but, according to Rory, it works extremely well as it is only a hop, skip and a jump from the heart of one of his desired markets — Melbourne’s restaurant, bar & café scene.

In that first vintage none were ever released or sold, as Rory developed a clear picture of the type of wine he wanted to market. Since that first vintage, Rory hasn’t looked back and his latest releases have hit the retail shelves (try Blackhearts & Sparrows) and good restaurant lists. His Shiraz stole the show with the 2010 Henty Estate single vineyard (getting my top tick.)

Rory believes the paradigms for Australian wine are changing. One positive outcome for smaller operations like his is that the big corporate downsizings are having a big viticultural impact with large wine companies jettisoning small, very good grape growers because they are economically unfeasible. This opens up opportunities for independent winemakers to source excellent fruit, much of it from old vines.

Rory feels a newer, younger generation of winemakers are coming up fast through the ranks, effecting an evolutionary if not revolutionary change (from styles to grape varieties) in what is Australian wine.

‘Each wine is made by an individual that brings to it his or her own traits and circumstance. It’s these human relationships that make each wine what it is, that create the stories that give wine its true worth. Wine is a nothing if not a dialogue between people. Every wine has a story. Every wine is a story.’

So folks, get with The Story…



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