Is it just my imagination, or does the wine business attract the best kinds of people? Take Kevin Bell, of Mornington Peninsula winery Hurley Vineyard (tastings), who was made a member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the recent Australia Day Honours. According to his Wikipedia entry, Bell has been a judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria since 2005, has been president of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal since 2008 and had worked as a Queen’s Counsel for eight years and a barrister for 20. He was also a councillor of the city of Essendon, a Melbourne suburb. There, he helped establish the Essendon community legal centre.
He is part owner and winemaker of Hurley Vineyard, which is on the Balnarring side of the Mornington Peninsula. His wife Tricia Byrnes, also a barrister, is the ‘business manager and harvest chef’.
Bell makes three different pinot noirs each year, which reflect their different geologies: Garamond, Hommage and Lodestone. He named the winery not after himself but after the white people who pioneered agriculture on the land in the 1860s, William and Joanna Hurley. But Kevin Bell is also very respectful of the original owners, the Boonewrung people. At the recent Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir Celebration, he opened the event by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land. This was no surprise to those who know that Justice Bell has done a lot of legal work for the aboriginal people.
Indeed, his AM citation did not mention wine at all, but – and I quote – he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia,
“for significant service to the law and to the judiciary, to native title and human rights, and to the community”.
Bravo, Kevin Bell.
(He just happens to make bloody good pinot as well. In his spare time.)
“Our philosophy is to bring joy to the world by making wine from pinot noir with gentility and respect and which expresses the pure truth of its terroir like the peal of a bell.”