A Wine & Cheese Escape
The story of a wine and cheese cocktail photo session, made at our friends' vineyard in 2020.
Early March 2020, soon after the end of the 50 days of the Dunn’s Road bushfire and right before the first coronavirus lockdown in Australia, I managed to squeeze in a fun photoshoot. I wanted to practice a wine & cheese cocktail styling for my terroir photography library and then forthcoming blog. This was my first shoot planned in a real situation, showing hands and not just food. At the same time, it was a good opportunity to share this one with our friends at their vineyard, when it would have been time for «vendanges» (wine grape harvesting). They could not harvest that year, due to the high smoke taint from the bushfires... We destroyed that buffet once photos were nearly done to cheer up and had a lovely evening talking about all our post disaster stories and future plans. We had no idea at that time about how our lives and the entire world would be overcome with this new virus.
Cheering up around delicious treats • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2020
I have always loved setting up the cheese boards for all the cocktail parties I’ve hosted. But when it comes to styling it for photography, it is a little more complicated. I learned many things in the making of this session. Preparation is the key and timing is the challenge. I’m glad I made some quick trial shots at home with the plates and post-it notes. Creating complex compositions needs some pre-sketching. Professional food photographers are assisted by prop stylists but like most self-assigned projects, I do this part myself, but this time, with a little help from my friends. In Australia, the late afternoons are the warmest and putting the buffet out too early would have made the cheese soften too quickly, attracting flies and the light would be too bright. When the magic hour comes, there is not much time. I had to work quickly, setting up, shooting and capturing everything I could to make a complete narrative image collection with the food, the vineyard and the bottles. At that time, our friends were in the process of selling their cellar-door, vineyard and home.
Magic wine hour in a vineyard • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2020
We met Simon and Tracy when they moved to Tumbarumba just a year after us. They were also facing the life change (or return) to the country, but as new vignerons, they had greater challenges. We became friends when they commissioned me to design their new wine labels. They had a great concept in mind and that was to design something from the drawing masterpiece made by their (at that time) 3 year old daughter, Mabel. I’ll always be proud to have collaborated in the making of these cool wine labels with such a talented young artist! They have since sold and moved at the end of the year. The Tumbarumba Wines Escape brand no longer exists and is now under a new business name. Sometimes dreams just change path and we have just got to follow them (and I know about that). They now live in a different town but we are glad they are still in the Snowys zone!
The team, including Chardy the dog • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2020