From our table to yours, a collection of five decades of moments with the Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon as shared by our Cabernet Society in celebration of the 50th vintage release.
Author | Tom Pearsall, Margaret River Photographer
It's not unusual for me to have to stumble out of bed before the sun is up - if the surf is forecast to be good - but this shoot was unusual as the sun was nowhere near rising. It was 1am. Deep into the 2023 vintage.
I was searching for a team picking the king of grapes in Margaret River, Cabernet. It was as dark as the ocean depths as I turned into the Home Vineyard at Vasse Felix, camera bag heavy enough to set off the no-seat belt warning in the passenger seat. Bing, bing, bing.
I noted the distant glow of lights in the far valley as I wound down my window. Sleep fuzzed brain relieved I was in the right place. The Indian Ocean's cool breeze swept through the grapevines.
The distinctive scent of Margaret River, sea air and forest humus, hung in the night air as I arrived in the relative calm of the Valley Cabernet plots.
I was welcomed by a surprisingly (for the hour) perky bunch; working away, cracking jokes and drinking coffee between rows. For a moment everyone turned their head torches off. The silence, but for the wind through the vines and a lone early bird, in combination with the wonder of the infinitely vast southern sky sticks in my mind most. Likely a mundane moment for the men and women picking grapes night after night.
The harvest team worked tirelessly to ensure the grapes reached the winery in perfect condition. And the winery team wasn't sleeping either. The lights were on and everyone was on task. A humbling example of commitment to their craft.
In the quiet of that night, driving home to my warm bed, I found a connection between the grapes and the waves. Both were shaped by nature's rhythms, and both rewarded patience and dedication.
No fancy words could describe it – just a moment in time, a memory of Margaret River Cabernet under the starry sky.