Three favourite items of wine paraphernalia
I’ve been involved in the wine industry for 45 years, and in that time have collected a bunch of wine stuff. As I look around my office I can see an assortment of wine decanters, my collection of corkscrews, a modest collection of champagne taps (google it), pewter port funnels, engraves glass barrel bungs, a bottle of Corbans Bostona Tonic wine with original box and advertising placard (circa 1930), a terracotta bust of Bachus, a bottle of “James Joyce” NZ Madeira from the 20s and many other things that mean something to me but very little to most.
These are my three favourite items of wine paraphernalia.
I always wanted a Greek or Roman amphora but failed to find one that fitted my budget and office. I did manage to buy a Greek skyphos that antiquarian dealer, Robert Loosley, estimated was from around 200 BC. A skyphos is a two-handled drinking cup. Greeks used them in drinking games. They would compete by throwing the dregs of a drink at a spot on the ceiling or over a rafter and into a bucket. They played for slaves or kisses.
I’ve always wanted to try drinking wine from it but don’t want to damage it. I plan to get a potter to make two or three of them so that I can indulge in a bit of competitive drinking. The challenge will be finding a slave or two.
A Roman glass
Also purchased from Robert Loosley, this was described as a “Roman glass with stout foot.” I think it’s from around 400AD. This really is the most beautiful object. With the light behind it, you can see all the colours of the rainbow from the chemicals that have leached out over the centuries. It is so delicate I cannot imagine how it survived for so long.
You’ll find marvellous old wine-related artefacts on Loosley’s website.
Bob Hawke wine dispenser
Didn’t know whether to feature my terracotta bust of Bacchus or plastic bust of Bob Hawke. The now-retired Australian prime minister won. I bought this in Sydney many years ago and it still puts a smile on my face. Although I have never put it to the test, you can apparently fill it with wine, which is then dispensed via a tap below the amusing legend “Take the piss out of Bob.” A classic symbol of Aussie irreverence. I love it, although my wife Marion is less impressed.