Passing Clouds: A winemaker’s journey

Graeme Leith

Passing Clouds: A winemaker's journey
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Passing Clouds: A winemaker’s journey

Graeme Leith

Graeme Leith - electrician, Italophile and jack of all trades - joined Melbourne’s theatre collective at Carlton’s famously innovative Pram Factory theatre and said, ‘Let there be light.’ And there was: Graeme Blundell, Jack Hibberd, Max Gillies and many others produced over 140 new Australian plays in ten years. Like many of his generation, Graeme left suburban Australia in the 1950s, bound for London and Europe. After a stint in Britain’s atomic weapons industry he rode his Lambretta scooter to Perugia in Italy, where he had his first taste of ‘ethereal’ wine and fell in love.

But Graeme had also fallen for the idea of making wine, and in the mid-1970s he and his partner Sue Mackinnon established Passing Clouds, a vineyard in Victoria’s Spa Country that produced award-winning wines from the beginning. Then tragedy struck. In 1984 Graeme’s beautiful and talented daughter Ondine and her boyfriend David vanished en route to the South Coast of New South Wales. Ten days later their ute was found in Kings Cross, where it had been abandoned by their killers.

Heartfelt and heartbreaking, humorous and hilarious, Passing Clouds tells of a life fully lived - a life embracing the experience of fatherhood, of triumph and disaster, of joy and tragedy, of ingenuity and sheer hard work and, above all, an unquenchable optimism.

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