Mandala Winery, Yarra Valley, Victoria

April 30, 2014

Through a beautiful bartering arrangement I came into the possession of a bottle of ‘2010 Mandala Prophet’, a single vineyard Pinot Noir by the Mandala Winery from the Yarra Valley.

Mandala has two vineyards, one in Dixon’s Creek where the seat of the winery is located, the other in Yarra Junction, a vineyard at higher elevation where on 10 acres a Burgundy clone of the variety is grown.

Mandala Prophet

2010 Mandala Prophet Pinot Noir

Years ago I have visited the winery and eaten in the estate’s restaurant but have not visited recently. Mandala is owned by the Mulder family. The wine-maker is Charles Smedley; the viticulturist is Julian Parrott.

When I was given the bottle and red the name on the label, I was intrigued. Calling a Pinot Noir wine, “the prophet”, is quite something. Having lived in Indonesia for 10 years I have other associations when I hear the word ‘prophet’ than a grape wine.

We enjoyed this wine the very same day the bottle was given to me. A dinner with beautiful red meat was the right occasion to open a Pinot Noir. The wine did not disappoint.

In fact it turned out to be one of the most delicious Pinot Noir wines I drank during my three week on the farm in Glenburn.

The Prophet is not made every year; only in exceptional years is this single site wine produced (so far 2006, 2008, 2010). James Halliday, the Australian wine authority awarded it 94 Parker Points. I loved the plum and raspberry aromas of this well balanced and complex wine.

When you buy this wine here in Bangkok, you will have to pay about 1,500 Bath per bottle. You should try it; it is definitely worth that money.

News from Glenburn, Victoria

February 4, 2008

I usually do not hide my liking of globalization. While strolling through my hometown Trier in fall last year, I discovered on one of my long walks around town an Australian restaurant. Greetings from ‘down under’ in this 2000-year-old town of Trier. Isn’t it wonderful? Emperor Constantine would have been very pleased.


The Emu restaurant in Trier

I also found a cafe just next to the Karl Marx house (the birthplace of the great philosopher) opposite one of my favourite wine bars, the ‘Das Weinhaus’, where you could enjoy the smoke of a shisha (or water pipe). If Karl would have known, he would have been delighted, I hope.

Michael my brother-in-law, who lives in Healesville, a beautiful little country town in Victoria about 3/4 of an hour northeast of Melbourne, used to buy Bitburger Beer for me. He knows that I love this brew from my home region. During his recent wedding I could enjoy some more of it. Great feeling to be so far from my birthplace, and to be able to drink the same beer thousands of kilometers away, far south on the other side of the earth. Goodness me.



Country folks need a drink from time to time, and vintners do not always drink wine!

Another product from my home region has found its way to Australia, Gerolsteiner mineral water. The name ‘Gerolsteiner’ was made famous in sport enthusiastic Australia through the sponsorship of the cycling team with the same name. But now you can buy this wonderful drink (good after a hangover or in case of gastroenteritis).


The sparkling water from Germany

Let me follow this up with some ‘news’ or observations of what has changed since we last visited Glenburn and its surroundings.

● The Yarra Glen Grand Hotel had been finally sold by John Lithgow and we found the pub full of people enjoying the new atmosphere created by the new owners.

● The old Henkel Vineyards (descendents of the German sparkling producers) cellar door was sold and is now called Mandala Wines which is owned by the Smedly family ( Henkel is erecting its signpost a couple of kilometers further north of the old place near Dixon’s Creek.


Mandala Wines, the new cellar door in the making

● The Wine Hub at the Yarra Valley Dairy ( has gone out of business and with it we lost one of our retail outlets.

● Cheese Freaks in Yarra Glen is gone and has become a nice little restaurant.

● David left the local Healesville band the “Heartstarters”.

Giant Steps Winery ( in Healesville, owned by Phil Sexton and his family, is in full operation (bar, coffee house, restaurant, bakery, winery, etc.) and has been also adopted by the locals who patronize it in great numbers.

Steve Webber of ‘De Bortoli Wines’ in Dixon’s Creek ( was awarded the very prestigious “Winemaker of the Year” by the wine magazine ‘Gourmet Traveller’ ( Congratulations!

Michael and Helen got married of course. Congratulations again. Cheers.


There are of course more news to report, but the above is what jumped into my eye while touring the beautiful Victorian countryside. Needless to say, we sampled quite a few local wines from the Upper Goulburn and the Yarra Valley.