On a Clare Day: A vine change story by Burt Surmon »

Good food, good wine, good life....

By Laura McKinnon
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<i>On a Clare Day: a vine change story</i> by Burt Surmon

On a Clare Day: a vine change story by Burt Surmon [©Wakefield Press]


Dreaming of visiting the Clare Valley? Have plans to visit soon or simply interested in one of Australia’s finest wine regions? Then On a Clare Day is the next book you should read.

Situated in the northern Mt Lofty Ranges, South Australia’s Clare Valley was settled in the late 1830s, with the first vineyards planted and wines produced in the early 1840s. The same features that make the Clare Valley inherently beautiful are also the foundation of Clare’s famed vineyards.

Written as a memoir rather than an autobiography, On a Clare Day is the story of Burt Surmon and his wife Jeni and the impulse purchase that leads to quitting the city and learning fast about the wine industry.

Starting at the beginning we learn about the beauty of the region and what attracted Burt and Jeni to buy there, then the process of purchasing a block previously used as a pony club course, but showed potential for growing grapes.

As the memoir progresses from buying 'The Hill' to building a house, planting vines, juggling the management of a vineyard and finally opening a cellar door, art gallery and function centre, you're also taken on a culinary journey. Interlaced between the stories are 37 recipes linked to the memory being recalled. Highlights include Beef Cheeks in Red Wine; Eggplant and Capsicum Pie; Ham Hock and Bean Soup and Quince and Ricotta Pizza. Each recipe also includes a list of wine styles that will complement them.

Our four-legged friends aren’t forgotten either, with a recipe for dog biscuits also included!

In one of the final chapters Burt and Jeni head off to Mildura for the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show and just by chance as I was reading it I found myself in Mildura for a week. Just like the book described, Mildura is a foodie town where visitors can enjoy a great selection of fantastic food experiences and some top-quality wines.

This book is a pleasant read for anyone looking to learn a little more about the Clare wine region, starting a vineyard, alternative varieties, and the ups and downs of the Australian wine industry. You will learn a lot while being entertained by the stories that weave it all together. As a bonus you will also find some great recipes for everyday and special occasions.

Purchase this book for yourself or a wine loving friend who would like to learn a little more in an easy to read and entertaining format. or who is thinking about a vine change.

On a Clare Day by Burt Surmon is published by Wakefield Press (Adelaide, SA; May 2017; pb; 320 pp; RRP A$32.95) It is available from all good bookshops or direct from the publisher here » 

Read more in the press release »



  • Clare Valley (SA)

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May 14th, 2018
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