The Wines Were Great But No ‘Roos en Route
Today I joined a group of about twenty wine enthusiasts for a trip to the Yarra Valley’s wine country. The van drove down winding roads through wooded hills and then onto more wide open areas with rolling hills and mountains in the distance.
Here too, I learned that screw tops are becoming more and more popular, as winemakers have discovered that the metal tops avoid cork rot that can spoil good wines.
In Melbourne, the arts are a seriously high priority. Whether it’s public art in city squares, or nurturing the art of new clothing designers or performers, the arts are a big part of the experience of visiting here. Even the highways coming into the city are lined with gigantic steel posts, angling sideways, there just to make the city look nicer.
Last night I met two men who have developed the country’s most successful incubation center for new cabaret talent, and do it without a penny of government grants or other assistance. In a country where arts dollars flow freely, this is a big change. They prefer to make money with a jumping bar and sell tickets to the lucky few who can snap them up.
The Butterfly Club operates in a cramped Victorian apartment in South Melbourne, where guests stream for 600 shows a year. The one-hour cabaret performances are held in an intimate 50-seat theatre. Neville, the affable silver-haired gent in charge of the front of the house, welcomed me with a glass of wine as I mingled with the pre-show audience just before nine last night.
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