A Bearbrass Probus party of eleven sampled about 40 of Heathcote region’s best wines during a three day trip recently. We did the 120km to Heathcote via car pooling. Club Secretary Mel G, also founder of the club’s thriving Wine Group, hired locally two vans and drivers from BlueWren Shuttle Service for Thursday. The vans let us safely cover the local 70 kms of travel between four wineries.
The only glitch was a one-hour power blackout during the final dinner at Heathcote Inn.  The  hotel staff had to tot up  our bills by phone-light, and arrange to get us all back safely to our rooms. The least-inconvenienced was one member who uses his Tesla rather than a hotel for his sleeping arrangements.
Thursday morning was enlivened by a fierce downpours plus hail but by coincidence the “rain bomb” stopped each time we arrived or left the wineries.
Heathcote is famous for its ancient red Cambrian/greenstone soils, leading to fine shiraz along with cab-sav and varieties such as Sangiovese and Viognier.
The day’s highlight was perfectly-presented Italian-style tasting plates of cheeses and hams at Wren Estate’s elegant reception room after our sampling of their keynote wines.
Thanks to Mel’s organising, each of our tastings at five wineries was exclusive to our party, some with wine-makers on hand to explain their craft. We paid tasting fees that were rebated from the cost of whatever bottles we bought.
En route to Heathcote we did our first tasting mid-way at Blackjack Wines, Harcourt, before lunch at Heathcote Winery. Our two-van taxi service – the only one in town - was on hand to get us to and from dinner at Juniper Lounge.
Thursday’s travel started with Tellurian Winery and after lunch at Wren’s, we motored on to Flynn’s Wines and tastings and coffee at Munari.
Perhaps the most interesting of the visits was to Flynn’s, with its rustic layout and proprietor Greg Flynn on hand in his mud-stained boots, shorts and well worn T-shirt.  He took us through the skills, realities, equipment and hard work of a wine-making business, and the many pitfalls between the vines and successful bottling. The vats of deep-red fermenting grapes which he aerated with a stainless-steel prodder gave off a great scent and we enjoyed its  very “young” taste.
Congrats to organisers of this complex, stimulating and smoothly-run Bearbrass expedition.