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Episode 7 – Books & Wine


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Wine and books are a match made in Preston! I was excited to chat with Gary at Jamsheed Urban Winery and only slightly nervous after he told me he majored in Literature and was very interested in what books I was going to suggest to pair with his wines … oh the pressure!

I think I did rather well but you’ll have to listen for yourselves to find out 🙂

Jamsheed Urban Winery in Preston is a fully functioning winery housed in a rather large warehouse in Preston. The space, like the wine, is packed with personality with an industrial brewery feel on one level and a cosy lounge and pool room on another. 

Gary and I sat in the lounge area of this working winery and had a lovely chat about three of his many beautiful wines, how he fell into the winemaking business and how a winery is similar to an author.

The wine and the books: 

2018 Jamsheed Beechworth Roussanne – honeysuckle, buttercup, fleshy grapefruit, mineral, textural

 Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg – This book starts out as the story of two women in the 1980s, of gray-headed Mrs. Ninny Threadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two women-of the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth, who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern cafe offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder. 

The tale is told in snippets, as the narrative jumps across time and space with various narrators. At the heart of the novel is the relationship between Idgie and Ruth. 

Ruth’s doomed marriage to Frank Bennet and the tragedy within that marriage is foreshadowed early – but the author drags on the suspense till the very end about what actually happened to Frank Bennet and whether Idgie had anything to do with it.  

There are also other dramas surrounding non traditional families, the 1930s modern woman, racism and small town life. 

This is a delightful, moving, sassy, textural, fleshy and earthy read which deserves to be read whilst drinking a delicious wine like this one.  

I should add that the movie is quite good, almost as good as the book! 


2019 Candy Flip – a blend of Pinot Gris, Mourvedre and Merlot – Pet Nat style – Red apple/Schapple, crushed blood oranges, rosehip and red rooibos tea flavours. Finishes lively and playful!  

The 100 year old man who climbed out the window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson is a funny, clever and heart-warming debut novel. Kind of like a cross between Forrest Gump and Up! if you know those movies! 

The 100 year old man, Allan, is a wonderfully playful character. His love of vodka and indifference to politics combine with his ability to blow things up and get him into lots of trouble! Through Allan we see some of the momentous events of the twentieth century in a new light. We travel from Sweden to Spain, from the USA to China. 

It all starts on Allan’s one-hundredth birthday when, sitting quietly in his room in an old people’s home, he is waiting for the party he-never-wanted-anyway to begin. The mayor is going to be there. The press is going to be there. But, as it turns out, Allan is not…Slowly but surely Allan climbs out of his bedroom window, into the flowerbed (in his slippers) and makes his getaway. And so begins his unlikely journey involving criminals, several murders, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent police. As his escapades unfold, we learn something of Allan’s earlier life in which – remarkably – he helped to make the atom bomb, became friends with American presidents, Russian tyrants, and Chinese leaders, and was a participant behind the scenes in many key events of the twentieth century. 

This is a lively, light, bright, playful and fun read and highly recommended with a vibrant tipple! 


2017 Ma Petite Francine 100% Cabernet Franc – raspberry, cherry mulberry leaf, funky with some green pepper, red liquorice and red berry, earthy forest floor

Mr Penumbra’s 24 hour bookstore by Robin Sloan

The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, but after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything; instead, they “check out” large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Totally clueless, yet suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele’s behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends, but when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls.

What follows is a fantastical series of events involving secret booknerd societies, typography, ancient artifacts, codes and puzzles, the capabilities of computers, and the coolest bookstore you have ever heard of. It’s a collision of ancient mystery and very modern, internet-savvy characters. It is a juicy, red berry, funky and vibrant read.


Gary also shared some of his recommended reads:

Infinite detail by Tim Maughan – fantastic science fiction read.

Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman is the best Australian novel Gary has read in a long time, unexpected and brilliantly conceived.

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje is a book of precision writing, not a word out of place and so detailed.



4 Albert Street, Preston, Vic 3053

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Literary Elixirs is recorded live in a noisy world. 

Into/Outro music is Mosquito Mojito by Rachel K. Collier. Sourced from Free Music Archive under a Creative Commons Licence.