The concert series is generously supported by Michael Hall Wines. All the wine at the Sydney concerts (and some of the regional venues) are made by Michael and his team in South Australia. Most of the wine served is Michael’s ‘Sang de Pigeon’ and you can have some of your own, delivered to your door, by filling out an order form at a concert, and handing it to one of the concert helpers, or to Rachel. You’ll get a special ‘friends of Bach in the Dark’ price, and the wine is delicious!
Here’s Michael’s story….
“After two decades as a jewellery valuer with Sothebys in London and Geneva I turned my eye for detail to my passion for wine. Enrolling in the Wine Science degree course at Charles Sturt in Wagga Wagga I graduated as dux in 2005 and worked a series of vintages for winemakers I admired in Australia and France. Experience with Cullen, Giaconda and Coldstream Hills in Australia, Domaine Leflaive, Meo Camuzet and Vieux Telegraphe in France shaped much of my approach today: At its best wine is a communion between nature and artisan. Indeed all fine wine owes its qualities to the vineyard. I’m interested in passively crafting the wine with as few material inputs as possible. Allowing the season and site to show themselves. Slow wine.
I grew up in England with a dad passionate about French wine. We spent summer family holidays in the French provincial landscape touring around with a tent. The memories are rosy and much of it stuck. I lived in London in my 20s during the vibrant wine bar scene of the 1980s and, whilst I found work in the jewellery trade, much of my time and wages were spent discovering new wines.
But the next two decades passed building a career in jewellery valuation, climbing to the rarefied air of Sotheby’s in Switzerland, working with socialites, captains of industry, the occasional aristocrat and handling fortunes in precious jewels.
Burgundy and the Rhône Valley were just over the border and called to me. While jewellery was glamourous, this world of privilege wasn’t for me. At 40 years’ old I decided to bring my wine dream to reality. It was a leap into the unknown, even though there are echoes of the meticulousness of my old work. There’s a resemblance between perceiving tiny distinctions of colour and purity in a gem and the multitude of nuances to be coaxed into a wine’s fullest expression – both of which can influence perceived value by many orders of magnitude. Recognising and championing these variations and subtleties can be the difference between a decent wine and a memorable experience.
I took advantage of the inverse hemisphere seasons and worked stints in Australia with Cullen, Giaconda, Henschke, Shaw + Smith, Coldstream Hills and Veritas; in France with Domaine Leflaive, Meo-Camuzet, Vieux Telegraphe and Trevallon. I then spent four formative years as winemaker for Barossa contract winemaker, Moppa Vintners.
Now, many years into my life in wine, I think one of its greatest appeals is the cultural connections I have made, working with gifted growers, exchanging ideas with passionate winemakers and sharing experiences with globetrotting cellar hands. I love the common language and the far-reaching community.”