Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New England Stories - the Hunter Valley Drayton's recovery from tragedy

Photo: The explosion at Drayton's. Inset Trevor Drayton, one of the two who died.

At 8.15 am on the morning of 17 January 2008, a huge explosion ripped through the cellar building at Drayton's family wines in the Hunter Valley. Click on photo for a link to the story.

Growing up, Hunter Valley wines were the wines I learned to drink, New England's best. After 150 years, the Draytons were one of the best known wine families.

Earlier this week the ABC TV program Australian Story carried an episode on the fire and its aftermath. The main link is here, the transcript here.

The episode is partly a love story, of the relations between the assistant wine maker at Drayton's, William Rikard-Bell who sustained burns to 80 per cent of his body, and his partner, Kimbereley Booker.

It is the story of the Drayton's fellow wine makers who, while competitors, gathered together to ensure that the Drayton's 2008 vintage could be harvested and turned into wine. And it is the story of the Draytons themselves.

The story reduced me to tears. I thought that it was one of the most moving pieces of TV that I have seen.

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