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Adelaide Advertiser - July 2018 - Rebecca Baker

Adelaide Advertiser - July 2018 - Rebecca Baker

PORT teammates Tom Jonas and Brad Ebert have turned an off-field passion into a business venture – and tonight they’ll pop the cork on their labour of love.

The local footy stars have paired up with Tomfoolery Wines’ Ben Chipman and Toby Yap to create a new wine label, Hey Diddle Wines.

Their first offering is a shiraz created from hand-picked grapes grown in the Barossa.

“We came down one Sunday with family and a few friends and had a big pick … we picked the fruit and then had a bit of a celebration with a big barbie and a bit of fun,” Jonas said. The grapes were picked in April 2017 and left to mull in French oak barrels until about two weeks ago when the wine was bottled, before being wax sealed by hand in the past two days.

“We were lucky enough to become really good mates with the (Tomfoolery Wines’) boys and decided to team up and do our own little wine project – for Ebo and I, it was a chance to learn the intricacies of winemaking and to create something special of our own,” Jonas says.

“That was about two and a half years ago. It’s been a steep learning curve but good fun finding out everything that goes into making wine, from pressing the grapes through to bottling and packaging … it was super exciting to open our first bottle.

“We get down (to the vineyard) any chance we can to help – we’re basically the lackeys and do a fair bit of cleaning!”

The four mates with a “collective passion for small batch, single vineyard wines” drew inspiration for their label from a phrase sometimes used in sporting commentary, “hey diddle straight through the middle”.

“We wanted a name that was a bit playful and while we didn’t want to focus too much on footy, we still wanted it to be connected to something that obviously means a lot to us,” Jonas said.

As an added bonus, the wine venture provides a good distraction from the pressure of elite sport.

“We do cop a little bit of stick (from the boys at the club) as we do tend to carry on and talk about our wine a fair bit … but I’m sure there’ll be a few keen to get their hands on a bottle,” Jonas said, laughing.

“(But) we’re spoken to a lot down at the club about personal development and (how it is important) to be able to get away from the hustle and bustle of footy every now and then … a lot of the boys have different interests and, for Ebo and I, this is ours.

“We don’t really know where it will take us, there are so many different aspects to the industry and so many options (but) we just hope to keep create a product people will enjoy.”

Just under 300 dozen bottles have been created in the first Hey Diddle run, selling for $35.

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