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  • Jancis Robinson
Written by
  • Jancis Robinson
7 Mar 2005

Just in:

It is with a heavy heart that the family and friends of Greg Trott announce his passing. After a long battle with cancer Greg passed away at his home in McLaren Vale early on the morning of Saturday 05 mar 05. He was, as always, surrounded by family and close friends. At dawn The Angelus bell, housed at Wirra Wirra, was rung 70 times to mark his passing to the McLaren Vale community.

Greg was one of the best-loved and admired characters in Australian wine. A self- styled grape and chook [chicken] farmer, Trott resurrected the historic Wirra Wirra winery from two remnant walls and some slate fermenting tanks in the late 1960s into the great winery it is today. And he did it all in his inimitable style - always passionate, always iconoclastic, always fun and always unique.

Trott will go down in McLaren Vale, South Australian and Australian wine history as one of the great characters. He gave Wirra Wirra its unique personality as well as Woodhenge, the Angelus, the world's first (and last) ferret-legging championship and a long-held dream for South Australia's first trebuchet (siege machine) battle with friendly, fractioning wineries.

Trott had a simple philosophy:

"Never give misery an even break, nor bad wine a second sip. You must be serious about quality, dedicated to your task in life, especially winemaking, but this should all be fun."

In 1969 Greg and his cousin Roger Trott stumbled upon the remains of Wirra Wirra in the paddock opposite Greg's home. Launching into the project, Greg uncovered old and rare equipment and recreated the historic cellars with their massive ironstone walls by working from rare photos. When asked by a local Councillor why he had not seen any application for building approval, Greg said that he thought it would be unnecessary as "this was merely a few repairs and maintenance".

While best known for his resurrection of Wirra Wirra, Greg took great pleasure in encouraging and inspiring McLaren Vale's next generation to follow their dreams and be the best they could in their chosen field, especially where food, wine and the arts were involved. He established the Fleurieu Biennale and its key event, the Fleurieu Prize, the richest award for Landscape Painting in the nation. He also encouraged writers, photographers, musicians and his love of cricket was profound.

Greg is lovingly remembered by daughters Catherine and Emily, partner Lea Steimanis and her boys Jordan and Alexander.