‘A Cappella’ Sounds of VIVACE Fill Cellar Door

VIVACE, Phillip Island’s own ‘a cappella’ madrigal group, lifted the roof at the Phillip Island Winery’s cellar door in the third of our springtime Twilight Concerts.

Under the direction of arranger Ross Fairhurst, VIVACE performed a magical mix of medieval and modern classics. 

The 16th century Latin ’Gaudete’ bookended a three-set performance of madrigal standards, some ribald ‘Chaucerian-style’ English and Scot folk-songs, a Gaelic blessing, and some latter day classics that even included Redgum’s rousing ‘Poor Ned Kelly’ (written by Trevor Lucas).    

With a full house, and then some, the surreal colours of a stormy sky over a twilight sea provided the perfect ‘other-world’ backdrop for VIVACE’s swelling choral harmonies and tight professional performance.

We’re constantly surprised by the depth of talent and by the diverse music and creative arts we find on Phillip Island.


Ross Fairhurst 'in the moment'

We’re also very pleased to have the opportunity to showcase local performers like VIVACE alongside the eclectic mix of visiting artists we bring to the winery.

Our thanks to Ross and VIVACE for a memorable evening of music.

Watch out for our next Twilight Concert series.

We’ve got a night of balladeers with Mike Cleeland coming up – a tribute to The Great McGonagall; acclaimed as the worst poet in British history. 

On September 30 and October 1, two nights or repertory featuring three well-known professional actors (one an ‘Islander’), and also bluesmen Tabasco Tom and Doc White returning soon.

If you’d like to know more about William McGonagall, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_McGonagall

Singer Songwriter Returns For Twilight Concert

SINGER SONGWRITER Jacqui Sterling returns to the Phillip Island Winery this coming Saturday afternoon, 30th July, for a ‘twilight concert’ from 5:30pm.

Jacqui’s last appearance at the winery had the cellar door packed out; all enthralled by her warm and engaging style and gorgeous voice.

Formerly of Byron Bay, now San Remo, Jacqui’s ‘gypsy spirit’ has seen her playing her songs to audiences all over the world. She has toured Australia as well as Europe – touring England, Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal.

With a strong, rhythmic, acoustic guitar style, Jacqui’s music and delivery crosses a number of acoustic music genres. Her songs – melodic, finely crafted and beautifully sung – are immensely appealing.

Her current CD, Bird in the Hand, is a stylish collection of original songs telling stories of her journey. “I have lived and breathed music for as long as I can remember,” Jacqui said. “Music and yoga have been my constant in life and song writing has been my tool of self expression, healing and connection.”

Jacqui Sterling, ‘up close and personal’ and returning to the casual laid-back atmosphere of the Phillip Island Winery, is a performance not to be missed.

Jacqui will be performing from 5:30pm – 8:30pm, Saturday evening only. Admission is free.

Former Golden Guitar nominee Tim O’Brien will also perform. Call in for a wine, a delicious fresh food platter and some classy acoustic music.

An Evening With Redgum’s Hugh McDonald

WELL-KNOWN GUITARIST AND VOCALIST Hugh McDonald is appearing at the Phillip Island Winery this Saturday, July 16th, for an ‘up close and personal’ twilight concert in our cosy, warm cellar door.

A multi-instrumentalist, Hugh is one of the hottest players around (and an engaging performer). He enjoyed a successful career touring Australia and the world with one of the leading bands of the 1980s, Redgum. He has since been a headline act at numerous concerts and festivals around Australia.

Redgum remains one of Australia’s best-known bands, remembered for the number one hit and Vietnam veteran tribute, “I Was Only Nineteen”.

Hugh wrote many of Redgum’s popular songs, most notably “The Diamantina Drover” which has since been recorded by Lee Kernigan, John Williamson, and Christy Moore, one of Ireland’s most popular singer/songwriters.

He is also a skilled record producer, arranger and session musician who has worked and recorded with many of Australia’s leading acts and soloists.

Phillip Island Winery’s resident musician (and winery owner) Tim O’Brien will also perform. Admission is free. A warm fire, five-star wines, delicious light platters and ‘up close and personal’ with Hugh McDonald, this Saturday, July 16th, 5:30pm – 8:30pm.

Where: Phillip Island Winery, Berry’s Beach Road, Phillip Island.

Time: 5:30pm – 8:30pm.

Admission is free, bookings accepted. Call: 5956 8465

Ukuleles Return For Winter Concert

FRESH FROM A TOUR performing across the USA, internationally recognised ukulele master, AJ Leonard, returns to the Phillip Island Winery for a twilight indoor concert this Saturday evening, 18th June, from 5:30-8:30pm.

His recent US tour included performances at the New York Ukulele Festival and the Ukulele Academy of North Carolina. He also performed on the West Coast at Santa Cruz (host to the largest ukulele club in the world) and at San Francisco, before appearing at the Monterey Wine Country Ukulele Retreat.

There, AJ was one of a feature group of well-known tutors and ukulele performers including James Hill, Andy Roberts, Del Ray, Brooke Adams and Gerald Moore.

Equally at home playing Beatles classics as he is with popular 40’s and 50’s ukulele standards, AJ Leonard is well known by ukulele devotees around Australia for his amazing dexterity, finely-crafted arrangements and breezy singing style. 

“The renaissance of interest in the ukulele in the USA is amazing, and it’s catching on everywhere,” AJ said.

“The highlight of our recent tour however was a meeting in Honolulu with Roy Sakuma, the legendary teacher and organiser of the world’s longest running ukulele festival at Waikiki.” 

 At the Phillip Island Winery, AJ Leonard will be supported on cello by his partner, Jenny Rowlings – an accomplished and polished performer in her own right.

This is a not-to-be-missed concert, admission is free. Come and enjoy the warm fire, delicious wines and a light platter menu to the cheerful strains of the ukulele.

Resident folk-singer and winery owner, Tim O’Brien, will also perform.

Ukulele Concert from 5:30pm; to book, call 5956 8465.

Jacqui Sterling, Live At The Cellar Door

SINGER SONGWRITER Jacqui Sterling brings her delightful acoustic soul music to the Phillip Island Winery this Queen’s Birthday weekend, Saturday afternoon.

Formerly of Byron Bay, but now calling San Remo home, Jacqui Sterling has built a strong following around Australia for her compositions and gorgeous voice.

Her CD, Bird in the Hand, is a stylish collection of original songs showing her fine musicianship and versatile vocal style. Her songs - finely crafted and beautifully sung – are immensely appealing.

There is something of a Sandy Denny quality to Jacqui’s voice, a breathy earthiness that lends a searing honesty to her singing, and timeless appeal.

With a strong, rhythmic, acoustic guitar style, Jacqui’s music and delivery crosses a number of acoustic music genres – she would fit as comfortably at a roots/blues concert as a folk festival.

Jacqui Sterling, ‘up close and personal’ in the casual laid-back atmosphere of the Phillip Island Winery, is a performance not to be missed.

Jacqui will be performing between 1:30 – 4:30pm, Saturday only.

Sunday and Monday afternoon, resident folksinger, winery owner and former Golden Guitar nominee Tim O’Brien will be performing. Call in for a wine, a delicious fresh food platter and some classy acoustic music.

One More Fossil At The Winery

AS A FIND, it’s not quite up there with archaeopteryx, but it’s not bad. The cellar door, you see, is constructed of Mt Gambier limestone. If you look closely (hours of endless fun) you can find remnants of fossils bound up into the blocks.

Mt Gambier limestone was formed under an ocean that covered much of South Australia around 35 million years ago, so there are bits of shells and impressions of wormy things dotted about in our walls.

The other day we were moving some blocks we had stored outside and happened to split one… the shell impression at left emerged. Cool eh… first human eyes to gaze upon it in 35 million years!  

Oh well, a nice distraction – back to worrying about the cab-sav grapes and the persistent rain.

2011 Vintage Report: Progress To Date

Picking our Chardonnay grapes

WHAT A YEAR for grape growers – the worst in memory for some parts of south-eastern Australia.

Problems? Aside from phomopsis, downy mildew, botrytis, powdery mildew, mealy bugs, flooded vineyards, bogged tractors and preventive sprays getting washed away the day you apply them, it’s all been hunky-dory.

And not only soggy, grey and humid, but unseasonally cool, leaving grapes hanging longer on the vine to ripen.

Ah yes, the elusive and uncertain joys of farming.

Fortunately however, we seem to have gotten through it ok – our vintage is in good shape (thanks to some rigorous care and some sustainable sprays we got onto early in our spray program that worked a treat).

We’re particularly impressed with the EcoCarb and Synetol Oil mixture: it’s sustainable, is gentle to the grapes and the vineyard ecology, and it works – when powdery mildew looked like getting a foothold, it stopped it dead in its tracks.

We’ve now got the Pinot, Sauvignon Blanc and Chard off; though all are down in tonnage (thanks to downy mildew knocking off a lot of the immature bunches early in the vintage) and weeks ‘late’, all are in good shape with nice clean fruit, good colour and nice bunches. (They also taste great… a fringe benefit when picking.)

We’re picking the Merlot this week; it’s nice and clean, no powdery nor botrytis, and a huge crop. We left a lot more fruit on the vine as there was so much water about (we also left the weeds in the vineyard to compete with the vines). The Cabernet is still a week or so off, such is the cool season.

Typically, our Estate wines are lean and subtle: our whites with quite delicate stone fruit and crisp citrus flavours, and peppery soft reds with lingering fine tannins. The fruit is especially delicious this vintage – we can expect some super wines.

We’ll be doing another Merlot Rose this year and another Cabernet Merlot. When next you’re in, check them out – our cab and cab-merl is delicious: long, lean, beautiful fine tannins and richly coloured, each is immensely satisfying and will take years of cellaring.

Twilight Ukulele Concert Sunday 23rd January At Winery

AJ Leonard's Tropical Lounge

UKULELE MASTER, A J LEONARD, and his band the Tropical Lounge are returning to the Phillip Island Winery on Sunday, 23rd January (Australia Day week), for a twilight concert from 5:30pm. If you missed AJ Leonard and the Tropical Lounge’s last visit, don’t miss this one.

Playing both old and latter-day classics, the breezy sound of ukuleles, cello, fiddle and accordion, and with wonderful tight harmonies, is absolutely irresistible. 

Recognised as one of Australia’s pre-eminent exponents of the ukulele, A J Leonard has been a feature performer at the Ukulele Picnic of Hawaii, Illawarra Folk Festival, Port Fairy Folk Festival and Cairns Ukulele Festival.

Featuring classic, swing and island music from the 20’s and 30’s, and originals, the Tropical Lounge’s unique blend of ukuleles, strings, vocal harmonies and percussion will have the winery hopping.

Come along, enjoy some delicious wines, and generous cheese and fresh food platters, and while away the summer evening to the liquid sounds of the ukulele. Admission is free (no cover charge) – this is an evening not to be missed.

With Jenny Rowlands on cello, Wendy Rowlands on accordion, violin and vocals, and David Billings on ukulele, guitar and vocals, it will be huge fun and a great evening of music, wine and fine food.

Music kicks off at 5:30.

Christmas Orders And Holiday Season Trading Hours

Summer fun at the Winery, the Scottish Fiddle Club firing

THE PHILLIP ISLAND WINERY will be closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day, but open between Christmas and New Year. 

We will also be open New Year’s Day. If you are looking for a quiet day to gently coax a woolly head into 2011, well, things are pretty tranquil on our side of the island. You can relax with a quiet wine, a fresh food platter, some live acoustic music and peaceful sea views.

For pre-Christmas deliveries (for those of you who leave things to the last minute), we can still get our award-winning wines to you if you order in the next few days.  

For orders, feel free to jump online (use the BUY OUR WINES link at right) or call us on  (03) 5956 8465. 

We will be open 11am till later in the evening throughout the Christmas and New Year period. If you’re heading to the island, look for Berrys BeachRoad (we’re not far past the race track) and the Phillip Island Winery signs. We’d love to see you.

Return Season For ‘Blithe Spirit’ At Phillip Island Winery

Alison Kingston as Ruth and Julie Thomas as the eccentric medium Madame Arcati

DINNER THEATRE CAME to Phillip Island with Offshore Theatre’s production of Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit at the Phillip Island Winery – and it’s coming back again in January.

With just five shows and limited seats available, the show was packed out every night. The audience, whose enjoyment of the show and of the unusual theatre setting was obvious, were treated to scintillating performances from the Offshore Theatre cast.

Presented as a ‘radio play’ with sound effects and music, and with lead roles by Alison Kingston as Ruth Condomine, Darren George as her husband Charles, Cheryl Alkemade as his departed former wife, Elvira, and Julie Thomas as the medium, Madame Arcati, the strong performances from all of the cast brought Noel Coward’s farcical and very amusing script to life.

“Blithe Spirit is full of such wry wit and wonderful dialogue. It adapts so wonderfully to a ‘radio play’ format,” said Stephanie Daniel, who directed the show and adapted the script.

“This style of theatre works very well in the intimate setting at the winery. We hope this performance is just the first of many more such shows for Offshore Theatre.”

“With a show, a beautiful setting and a lovely meal and wine, what could be better?” Stephanie said.

The good news, for those who missed out, is that Offshore Theatre has agreed to present the show again for four nights in late January. (Provisionally mark off Friday and Saturday 14, 15, 21 and 22 January at this point.) Watch this site and the Phillip Island Advertiser for details closer to the dates.