• Philip White

"This CV Wee Rab's just happened to knock over for me"

Legendary Australian wine writer Philip White has been quiet on the word front for the past 30 months as he deals with serious cancer. An afternoon of easy joy and with close friends at Aldinga Beach Cafe last Sunday, (June 20, 2021) sparked something wonderful and reminded us of what made Whitey such a force. Whitey’s own words follow below:


Mighty Beloveds All,

Annika has just dropped me home on another glorious day in sunshine heaven – today the Vales look like Burgundy with eucalypts – and here I sit taking an aperitif slug of the Black Label Arbind slipped into my bag.

[Speaking of the Vales' A-List, I find amusing that Annika and Adrian's bransion brings to mind Alcoholics Anonymous. Who, me? Them? Us?]

Thankyou Robbie and Milton and dear Arbind and Mamta for giving me such a sweet and precious memory.

And to all those wondrous folk who attended the symposium.

In this age when we're economic units rather than humans, how could one ever put a price on such a gift?

It confounds me.

Milton, there's a remarkable book in your photograph alone. Remember when you invited me to address the conference/exhibition of ACMP Society of Photographers where I attempted a Quixotian explanation of the difference between writing and still photography?

The average writer of the story your photograph tells would start work on the left hand side with the Berlingierian chef of Etruscan Scots Noo Joizy ancestry and write all the way 'round to Arbind and Mamta.

Maybe a tv series. Who'd need more reality than that? It'd take more volumes than the Encyclopædia Britannica.

RBMW Productions would knock it over! I know a thirsty director/Chenin genius and researcher/roo wrangler at Beechworth!

Meanwhile, dear Milt, you've entrapped the entire damn Bronte/Wuthering/Proust/master luthier/Spaghetti Western suit/Mahabharata/Chaucer/Julies/Rasa/CLAVDIVS/gonzo et cetera, et al, in your single encyclopædic SNAP! Only a lifetime of practice and discernment and PING! There. You got it. Now we have it, trapped forever in the digital ether.

I'm sure most writers, musicians, winesmiths, guitar-makers, chefs, politicians, bibulants, gardeners, Lehmanns, raconteurs and entrepeneurs envy the great photographer's capacity to grab the whole eternal microsecond in one learned wince and an instinctive twitch of a finger.

If only more enthusiastic amateurs practised some appreciation of the time it takes.

Consider the amazing stretch of history that towers quietly behind that butter chicken and chilli the Bahtt family made for me! It's still dancing the very soul of fiery joy with Castagnas' entrapment of the soul of Chenin. And then there's this CV Wee Rab's just happened to knock over for me. How long did that take? What time is it? Holy shit!

Many sloppy kisses and hugs and thanks for a memory that will remain at the top of this lucky mind's whirling clip-board til we hit that last big pillow. Which will not be today. Rock AND roll!

With the deepest respect, gratitude and love, I remain yours forever,

Phil Ogynist

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