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

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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]


The green and lovely Clare Valley is one of Australia’s finest wine regions. A fortnight’s holiday among the vines convinces social planner Burt Surmon and his new wife Jeni to make a life-changing decision. They will quit the city grind to grow grapes, make wine, open a cellar door, art gallery and function centre …

"We climbed into the agent’s smart four-wheel drive with its ’roo bars and spotlights. He drove down the gravel road for a way, then turned north onto a rutted track, climbing through a eucalypt scrub and on, up, to the top of the hill.

We rounded a huge ancient gum and, there, an extraordinary, almighty panorama burst upon us. The vista was breathtaking, exhilarating – we were incredulous at the scene before us, like a dream unfolding, a paradise giving of its emotional and sensual bounty. Could it be ours for the asking? Would this hill allow us to unearth its wondrous possibilities? Bacchus amat colles popped into my head. If Bacchus loved the hills, would he love this one, unconditionally? I did – it was love at first sight – which made it twice; first Jeni and now this."

Forever optimistic, but largely ignorant of farming, Burt and Jeni begin a life of hard yakka. There are so many lessons to be learnt. Marketing, soil types, grape selection, occupational health and safety.

And just how to wrangle those stray pigs and deer from the vines.

On a Clare Day is the story of two wine lovers riding wine’s boom and bust. Their tale is seasoned with mouth-watering recipes enjoyed along the way, fusing peasant-style French and Italian with Middle Eastern and Asian cooking.


About the author

Burt Surmon was born and bred in King’s Bloody Cross, of the good old days, to a well-travelled father who exposed him early on to food, wine, music, art and different cultures. He thinks this might be the reason he ended up in the Clare Valley with Jeni to develop a vineyard and open a cellar door-art gallery, attracting visitors from all over the world.


On a Clare Day by Burt Surmon is published by Wakefield Press (Adelaide, SA; May 2017; pb; 320 pp; RRP A$32.95) It will be available from all good bookshops from 19th May 2017 and available to pre/order direct from the publisher here » 

Read our review of On a Clare Day » 


VisitVineyards.com subscribers receive a 20% discount on direct sales from Wakefield Press  find further details on how to claim your discount here »  


  • Clare Valley (SA)

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May 29th, 2017
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