Wishing you all a happy and safe Christmas

I am taking a few minutes out of what has been a hectic month. With my daughter’s wedding and the usual happenings around GCG there has been little time for blogging. I do apologise, but promise to be back in 2011 hopefully with some interesting stories and findings to share with you. In the meantime, I wish you all a very safe and happy festive season. I hope you all have time to put your feet up and enjoy everything this time of year has to offer. I know I’ll enjoy myself at the beach with family and friends. I look forward to catching up with you all on my return at the end of January 2011.
Blessings and Seasons Greetings,

PS- GCG will be participating in SA’s first state wine festival, taking place 25-27 February 2011 at the Adelaide Convention Centre. Over 100 other SA wineries will also be there so please come along and say hello. For all information regarding the event and to purchase tickets visit www.cellardoorwinefestivaladelaide.com.au

----------------------- | Subscribe by Email -----------------------

Who was Miss Rosie Laughton of Walkerville?

At the auction of Miss Rosie’s estate I purchased a box of Charles Dickens old hard covered books all of which have inscriptions to the father of the family, also to my delight and surprise the box contained some random photos. My research will begin around these plus I will go on to the ancestry.com.au web site to do further investigation, I may even door knock her street!

Below is a list of the photos:

– Victorian photo of a Victorian lady dressed in a wedding gown by Hammer & Co Adelaide “Vice Regal Photographers”

– Beautiful head and shoulder shot of women in off the shoulder black dress, 1900? By Hammer & Co inscribed on back “Bessie Caroline Clayton”

– Wedding photo of regal looking woman. Hammer &n Co. Inscribed on back “Frances Laughton (nee Clayton) married December 1913 at St Peter’s Cathedral, Adelaide SA

– Wedding photo another regal looking young woman, Hammer & Co. Inscribed on back Ruby Susannah Heseltine (nee Clayton) married in St Peter’s College Chapel 1908.

– Group of 6 men with golf clubs around 1900.

– Yankalilla Anglican Church School House 1900 a number of children in the photo.

– Two Victorian ladies sitting outside a house, could be mother and daughter, inscription on back says “B.C. and Elizabeth Clayton at 9 Robe Terrace, Medindie early 1900’s.

I also know from attending the auction that there was a lot of St Peter’s College memorabilla such as beautiful trophies and school photo albums, Miss Rosie’s father attended the prestigious Adelaide boys college.

Miss Rosie’s mother Frances came from the Clayton family who appear to be very well to do and she appeared to marry well when in 1913 she married Mr…………….Laughton in the stately St Peters Cathedral.

Amazing how much information can be gained from a few old photos. It is also very possible that someone reading this blog will know something of these people that I am writing about, it would be amazing if they made contact!

Next blog will catalogue the inscriptions inside the books which will shed more light on Miss Rosie.

Blessings Julie gcg

----------------------- | Subscribe by Email -----------------------

Miss Rosie and Miss Rosemary

As you will remember Miss Rosemary is my Austin 1800, named after the previous owner, whose family history I have become fascinated by and am going to research. I found a note inside a sketch book given to Miss Rosemary and it said “To Rosie Christmas 1960” so I will in future refer to her as Miss Rosie so there will be no confusion between her and her car!
Bad news on Miss Rosemary front she has done a water pump, poor old dear and is off the road at the moment. We had to suffer the indignity of being loaded on the back of a tow truck and be driven through the main street of Clare for all to see. This was embarrassing as almost daily in Clare someone would stop me to discuss the merits of Miss Rosemary or the ‘land crab’ as they were commonly referred to…..I would always respond with all the virtues of Miss Rosemary and how fabulously reliable she was so I felt a bit let down very publicly! Alas we will be back on the road soon to coast around Clare and enjoy the beautiful spring weather.
Miss Rosie’s former home at Walkerville has now been sold and I suspect will go under the bulldozer as it was one of the saddest, dampest and neglected old homes that I had ever seen, (as you will see from the photos) it was truly unlivable and I have no idea how Miss Rosie lived in it. Being her family home all her life I suppose she could not contemplate ever moving from it with leaving behind her life’s memories. Well some distant relative is now very wealthy as it sold for $2.6 million!!! No wonder she lived in poverty it would have cost her about $20000 a year in council rates, if not more, so any family inheritance she had to survive on was probably long gone.
I have been a bit slow on tracking down her family history but am now on the job and my next blog will lead into it, hopefully beginning to shed some light on who this “once wealthy Adelaide family” member was.
Julie gcg

----------------------- | Subscribe by Email -----------------------

Saint Mary…..

Today is a big day in the Catholic World with the canonization of Mary MacKillop. I read in yesterday’s paper that 8000 people will travel to Rome for the once in a life time event. I can only imagine the excitement being experienced in the little South Australian town of Penola where Mother Mary started her teaching career. The Sisters of St Joseph would also be feeling a great sense of pride as one of their own is made a Saint. I was educated by these wonderful caring Nuns at St Joseph in Clare, as was my Mother Teresa and Grandmother Dorothy. Both my Grandmother and Mother went on to look after the Nuns and built lifelong friendships with many of them. My Grandmother was particularly dedicated to the Nuns in her parish and spent many hours cooking for them and made sure they were well looked after. Without people like my Grandmother the Nuns would have lived a poor existents as they had no means of earning money. Sadly there are no longer any Nuns living at the convent in Clare. So today I’ll be thinking of Mary Mackillop and her miracles and reflecting on my time spent with the Sisters of St Joseph. God bless Saint Mary Mackillop a great Australian!

----------------------- | Subscribe by Email -----------------------

Picnic Washout!

All that talk of lovely spring weather and taking Miss Rosemary out for a picnic would have gone well had Miss Rosemary been a boat and not a 1968 Austin 1800! As you can see by the photo taken beside my Limerick Vineyard there was no way Miss Rosemary was leaving home. In fact none of us were going anywhere; it was very exciting as the last time we had seen so much water was back in 1998. It is a true blessing as now the dams and tanks are pretty much full and there is plenty of underground water for the vines to send their roots down and get a good drink when the hot weather comes.
Speaking of Miss Rosemary, I am giving her an outing today and have her parked at the winery. A man visiting began asking me about her and of course I went into the long and fascinating story of how I came to be her owner, and woe and behold he said he knew the family! He said they were wealthy landed property owners around the state and said he would get me some information, I said I would be in contact next week to sit down and ask him a million questions.
As you can imagine I am very keen to get this journey on the way and am looking forward to reporting next week on what I have discovered.
On the wine side I spent last week in Sydney with my agent Nick Butler (a GCB) from Cogito Wines who is doing a very fine job indeed of spreading the Good Catholic Girl gospel. My wines received a fabulous reception. You can find GCG at Annandale Cellars, Wine Culture, and the Australian and New Zealand Wine Centre. Simon has just put Teresa on at an amazing restaurant at Rose Bay called Catalina; I will let you know as more come on board. I had a really beautiful lunch for one at Wild Fire at Circular Quay Wes looking across the harbour to the Opera House and the weather was perfect. I don’t normally enjoy dining alone but on this occasion it was a relaxing treat.
Also dropped into Canberra town and caught up with Brent McKay from Amazing Grapes (don’t you love the name) who is my man on the ground there. We had a great lunch at The Parlour and a fabulous dinner at The Lantern, so all is good in Canberra, made even better as there were no Politian’s in sight!
Blessings to you all and have a fine weekend!
Julie forever the gcg!

----------------------- | Subscribe by Email -----------------------

Anyone for a picnic?

My lovelies, spring has sprung and isn’t it glorious!? It’s amazing how a change in weather really brings out the best in us all. It seems so much easier to get out of bed in the morning and face the day. With this glorious weather comes the favorite past time of picnicking in the park, and I have the number one accessory- a 1960’s picnic set! I had my eye on this little beauty at the ‘Miss Rosemary’ estate auction and was thrilled when it officially became mine, to add to my collection! My daughters think I’m a little mad and make fun of my constant collecting, but I just tell them “one day this will be yours and you’ll be grateful”! I can’t wait to get out there on one of these gorgeous spring days, 2010 Teresa Riesling in basket, and enjoy a long lazy picnic. Happy Spring everyone. I hope you’re all planning a lazy picnic or something equally as lovely.

----------------------- | Subscribe by Email -----------------------

Friday 13th…… Don’t be scared!

Good luck and stay safe! Actually as I was born on Friday 13th I have no fear, and am not superstitious except for one thing. That is that I will not take any sort of trip by plane, boat, car or rail without having a St Christopher medal on my person. This is a long held family tradition which my mother Teresa Nancy insists on giving each of us a medal when we are going on any sort of trip, she seriously buys them in bulk (bags of 50 I think), and she also insists every new vehicle has one.

So I thought I had better Google “St Christopher” and find out why he is such a protector of travellers.

Well legend has it that he was crossing a river one day when a small child asked if he would help him across. He lifted the child up onto his shoulders and found him to be unbearably heavy. The child according to legend was Christ carrying the weight of the whole world, thus Christopher became St Christopher the patron saint of travellers.

But alas in 1969 the Catholic Church downgraded St Christopher from a saint to a martyr as they could not find any truth in the story. Fortunately this has made no difference to millions of us who maybe ‘superstitiously’ carry him with us on our travels. I will continue to do so as it has worked this far for me and all other members of my family!

Above is a photo of one of my many St Christophers, it is a bracelet.

Wishing you all a good weekend and safe and happy travels.


----------------------- | Subscribe by Email -----------------------

Rescue Mission Completed: Now the Research Begins

I attended the estate auction of Miss Rosemary (her name) last week and to my surprise and with a tinge of disappointment I learned that the family photos that I was “rescuing” had been withdrawn by ‘the family’ so she was not alone. There was a box of family memorabilia that I was chasing that included photo albums of a world trip taken in the 1930’s estimated auction price of $22 to $70 but it went for an amazing price of $500 so I clearly was not alone on this rescue mission. I did manage to secure a couple of boxes of Dickens books for $20 and hidden within the boxes were quite a few family pictures dating back to the early 1900’s so it is these photos that I will use to begin my research on Miss Rosemary. Inscriptions were written in the cover for most of the books and from this I have learnt that Miss Rosemary had an elder sister called Elizabeth (Beth) so she was not an only child as I surmised.

I was not cashed up enough to purchase any of the fabulous old toys which went for huge prices even in their decaying state. However I did purchase something which I was not expecting to and that is Miss Rosemary’s one owner 1968 Austin 1800 original 64000 miles which has been serviced by Taylors of Medindie since new, 42 years! It is registered till October 2010 and been driven by Miss Rosemary until she died a month ago. A beautiful car to drive which I have named “Miss Rosemary”.

Of course with the car came the registration papers and Miss Rosemary’s name and address so of course I went swiftly to the address. Sitting behind a beautifully maintained majestic hedge (must have been to do with keeping up appearances) was a crumbling salt damp ridden house, a sad and depressing site, looked as though it had been uninhabited for 50 years, but she lived within! It is situated on about 4 blocks in one of Adelaide’s elite establishment suburbs and the land must be worth in excess of $2 000 000. Miss Rosemary must have been struggling to pay crippling rates but did not want to sell the home she had lived in since birth. The last remnants of Miss Rosemary will soon be pushed aside by the bulldozers I suspect lucky she is not around to see it. As my research continues I will keep you updated.

Back to GCG business I have finished writing my new labels and have had more great reviews which are up on my web site, one by Chris Shanahan of the Canberra Times, God Bless him, and Jimmy Halliday has given my 2009 Teresa 92 points and 2007 The James Brazill 94 points so I have been blessed once again.

Blessings to you all

----------------------- | Subscribe by Email -----------------------


Family history is a fascinating thing, and I seem to be in the grip of it. To learn more about my Great Uncle James Brazill I will need to travel to France and go Mouquet Farm where he died in battle in WW1, but alas that will not happen in the near future. Today my interest has been captured by a lost family history, not mine but another family who at this stage is unknown to me but I am on the hunt to see what I discover.
Have you ever gone into a junk shop and found very old family photos, sometimes beautifully framed, up for sale? I feel much sadness wondering why no family member has taken it upon themselves to keep these treasures. I have often thought there should be a ‘Photo Shelter’ where these unwanted photos can be dropped off in the hope that someone will come looking for them one day.
Tonight I am going to an auction house in Adelaide to carry out my own rescue mission. It seems that a once wealthy family has come to the end of the line, there appears to be no relatives who exist or are interested in saving any of this very old family memorabilia. As a result it is all going up for auction and I suspect the proceeds will be going to some worthwhile charity. I may even hazard a guess that the charity might be the RSPCA as there is a huge amount of horse memorabilia, even original Phar Lap books etc.
The lady who had lived in the home was 88 (born 1922) an only child and a spinster (love that word so harsh, such a put down for women who were never ‘lucky’ enough to marry) and had lived there from birth. There is much memorabilia from a posh boy’s school in Adelaide so I suspect the father came from a moneyed family where more got spent than was made and eventually there was none. The money certainly was enjoyed as there are photo albums showing grand tours of Europe , and many once beautiful toys and clothing up for sale. She must have had a fabulous and indulged childhood, but sadly what remains is a faded, decaying and crumbling collection of a nursery that once reflected the family’s position in Adelaide’s society.
I have already been to inspect the booty and could not bring myself to even touch the objects as they are being presented as found in the old home, rotting, dusty and falling to pieces, luckily they don’t smell! I have decided that I want to learn more about this woman and what her life was, I don’t even know her name. I managed to get bits of information from the auction house but they were not very forth coming- probably due to privacy laws (not always useful!), so clearly to find out more I need to purchase as many boxes of family photos as I can and some of the old toys and other bits and pieces. I figure there can’t be too many people out there as interested as me in a history of a family that I don’t know, so I should manage to purchase most items for very little. Of course, I will say a prayer to give me the edge, and I will keep you informed of my random hunt to rescue the history of a sadly lost family.
I am really excited about this little rescue mission and it is a pleasant diversion from what I should really be doing at the moment, and that is writing my back labels and organizing my bottling of my 2010 Teresa and my 2008 The James Brazill, but as I have stated before I am easily distracted!

God keep you safe!

----------------------- | Subscribe by Email -----------------------


Welcome to GCG’s first blog! It is very exciting and fairly dangerous to have the ability to talk to a wide audience about anything that I choose, the choosing is the difficult part. So I will begin with my recent trip to London where I attended the London International Wine Fair with my wine of course, apparently it is the biggest such event in the world. I was there with my European Distributor ‘Rod & Spur International’ (if you are wondering what Rod and Spur means, it is a pruning technique…. nothing sinister!) Yes the show was most impressive and I must say most serious. I often ponder why a product such as wine should be approached in such a serious manner, as it certainly isn’t consumed by us in serious mode. I just felt that if you go to a wine event in Australia there is much laughter, friendly banter and a fair dose of consumption! Very little consumption occurred by those showing their wine, and all discussion was fairly serious, which is a problem for a gcg like me as I have a limited attention span for too much serious stuff! The world of wine can bring so much pleasure to all those involved, but especially those of us who make it, it certainly isn’t my intention to go down the serious path with wine, I regard it as a pleasure product and I always will, just as I hope the devotees of Good Catholic Girl are on board for their pleasure.
The serious aspect of wine which I allude to is the obsession with being able to position a wine on the points it has been awarded by a wine guru some where on the planet………….all important but not the only important aspect of the wine. I just love it when I encounter a new wine and on first contact it makes me pay attention with me uttering something like “Wow, that is delicious what is it?!” …………I then embark on another exciting wine journey and so it goes…………….I don’t think I have ever felt the need to enquire “How many points has this been awarded?”, by any esteemed wine critic. My point being that points are not important for our pleasure, but I am well aware of the power of wine rating in generating sales.
Now I have made the point on points I need to say that my view is not coming from a jaded perspective as I have been very kindly treated by the wine critics, who have been most generous with their time and reviews of my wine. It is what they say about my wine which is of most interest to me and you too I hope, check out my media section to read my latest reviews, some very kind words have been said by David Sly, James Halliday and Peter Bourne most recently, only one of these reviews awards points.


On another note I have been told a number of times by people who work in the wine trade in Europe that I would have trouble selling my wine in Ireland due to the name of course, luckily this is not the case as I have had strong interest from the Irish since the London Trade Fair so I will keep you posted on that one…………who would be so misguided that they would think that they could anticipate how the Irish would react!!??
God Bless You All………Fill your glass………………and think of something to say to me but remember my attention span is……………………..

----------------------- | Subscribe by Email -----------------------