As I sit here writing this the celebrations have already ended. Being fourteen hours ahead of us, it’s already tomorrow there. But it’s not just in the land down under they celebrate Australia Day, here in Canada there are many places where Aussies practically out number the locals.
In Whistler often dubbed “Whistralia” there are so many young Australians working there they actually have the biggest Australia Day celebration anywhere in the world outside of their homeland.
With the recent release of Les Miserable starring Australian hunk, Hugh Jackman the historical story of hard-working convicts is once again of interest to people. While the fictional story of Jean Valjean is set in early 19th century France, it could be compared quite easily to the real life stories of many convicts sent to Australia by the British government for petty crimes during that same period. Some Australians would like nothing better than for the world to forget this bit of history while others have used this unique story as an opportunity to market their product. I don’t generally purchase wine based on the label but when I received this bottle I was totally intrigued. 19 Crimes is inspired by the actual list of crimes you could be transported to an Australian penal colony for (rather than being hung of course). Check out the list of punishable crimes here.
Each label of the 19 Crimes brand has the photo of a different convict. When you go to the 19 Crimes website you can find out more about your particular convict. Mine is named John Boyle O’Reilly, an Irish-born poet who was arrested for Mutiny in 1866.
The wine itself is from Victoria, Australia and produced by Baileys of Glenrowan which has a remarkable history of its own. Started in the 1860s, when Richard Bailey and his family arrived in Australia. They originally set up a store in Glenrowan to supply miners on nearby goldfields. When the goldfields dried up and the miners moved on the Bailey’s turned to farming and became one of the first families to plant a vineyard. They produced their first vintage in 1870 and the business was passed on through the generations but is now owned by Treasury Wine Estates. With another connection to a true crime story Glenrowan was also the place where bushranger Ned Kelly was captured in 1880.
Made up of a blend of Shiraz Durif (otherwise known as Petite Sirah) the tasting notes state it is dark red in the glass with legs that cascade slowly due to its concentration and power. Sadly I’ve checked and it’s not available at the LCBO only out in BC liquor stores.
So Happy Australia Day to all those celebrating around the world.
What’s your favourite Aussie wine?