I am lucky enough to be working in a field that is also my passion. That passion was influenced by many, but triggered and fed by one person- my father.

Some of my earlier wine memories are around socialising, friendships and family celebrations, so I always saw wine in a very positive light and something that bought people together.

One Sunday our suburban garage was filled with oak barrels and the aroma of red wine as my parents and their friends bottled and corked more bottles than I had ever seen. Only red wine stains for our garage floor! Our portion of bottles went under the house to live with the spiders and came out every now and then to share with their friends over a meal.

As we grew older dad would pour us a small glass at family celebrations, often this was a bottle of Cold Duck (a cheap sparkling red wine served cold and best left in the 70’s) that my grandfather brought over on special occasions. In hindsight I can imagine he may have had the ulterior motive of limiting his own exposure, still it strengthened the wine and sociability link and we thought we were pretty flash.

As we grew older and hung around the kitchen at dinner parties to sneak tastes from a wider range of wines. Catering college expanded my horizons amazingly and I became a little judgmental about some of my parents choices, of course I knew it all by then.

Since then dad and I have enjoyed the odd bottle together, sometimes even sharing with others. My father’s saying “that you should always knock on the door with your elbow” (because your arms are full of wine), meant that he has brought many interesting bottles to my table and I have tried to reciprocate. We have learned from each other and shared our good finds. With age he prefers a fuller bodied wine and I struggle to get him to see the merits of a Pinot Noir, even wine buddies can disagree.

I recently enjoyed a 2005 Seppelt Mt Ida Heathcote Shiraz with him on his 79th birthday. As he is 80 next year and I need to find a few bottles to celebrate with him. Not necessarily iconic blockbusters but interesting wines that have a story and are special enough for my old man. Any suggestions welcome.

So I have Dad to thank for my views on wine and sociability and that learning more can bring much enjoyment to the wine experience. Thanks Pop, bring on the 80th.

Dad enjoying three of his favourite things; a glass of red wine, the Sydney Morning Herald and the great outdoors.

Dad enjoying three of his favourite things; a glass of red wine, the Sydney Morning Herald and the great outdoors.