I'm sure it wasn't just the wine speaking? Or maybe just a little. But, looking at my pics, this place is still seriously different and cool. A little slice of ecclectic paradise in McLaren Vale. This place is Whitefeather Red.
On Chooks Little Winery Tours, we venture somewhere for about 10 minutes, from Stevens Cellar Door (somewhere near McLaren Flat). A mix of chat, wine and not needing to know = I'm not sure exactly where we go. www.winecompanion.com.au tells me Whitefeather Red is at 253 Binney Road, McLaren Vale, SA 5171. An invite that John, aka Moondog, gives us, confirms. When you go (and you should), be sure to make an appointment, you will be alone otherwise. 'Wine tasting and sales by appointment only'. The signs on arrival can be confusing too. 'No entry' and 'Entry' sit side by side at the entrance gate. Moondogs humour.
A surfbaord lies in the garden beside the fence, a brick path winds it's way around tall palm trees, and a deck for watching the sun set over the vines while geese waddle up and down the rows is at the other end of the garden. There's also a big bin for fires, surrounded by ramshackle chairs. A ukelele on the wall, begs to be played, and has the sign saying so. This is created by an artistic soul, with great ideas, zest for life and freedom of mind.
November 1st 2014 is the Whitefeather Fizz Launch. Why? Apparently 'Cos our Dancing Dove bubbles rock', the brochure says. And I'd tend to agree. And for the musos, you also get to bring your instrument… and join in with making some sounds. Moondog said he'll be leaving instruments around for those that can't bring any - so no excuse. Except for mine - I can't play. And believe me, nobody wants to hear me attempt.
We sit with Moondog for an hour or so at the freestyle wood table in the middle of his garden. A cheese platter is devoured, and more fizz bottles are brought out. I could easily sit and listen to his tales of travel for the rest of the afternoon. Being hungover from Champagne in Paris, he thought a hair salon patron was a moving scultpture and had to go up and poke the poor lady. Damn, he makes me laugh. And let's not even go to what conversations he has with his butcher. Let the fingers do the talking.
'There's no need to care and worry about it.' Moondog's final words on life.
Whitefeather Red - John Saunders 0424 355 011
Chooks Little Winery Tours - www.chookslittlewinerytours.com.au