Drinking to Remember: the history and emotion of South Australian wine

Wine drinking and remembering aren’t natural bedfellows, but for a University of Adelaide academic the connection between the two provided much food for thought.

Dr Amy Milka, a postdoctoral research fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions at the University of Adelaide, was surprised to discover how vibrant and sophisticated the local cellar door experience was when she migrated from the UK two years ago.

“Family and community histories are central to the way winemakers tell the story of their brands in South Australia,” Dr Milka says.

“The visitor experience is so layered and interesting – and when we visit cellar doors, order wine at restaurants or open a bottle with friends, we add our own memories and experiences to the mix.”

Dr Milka’s observations have inspired Drinking to Remember: History, Memory and South Australian Wine, a talk being held at the University of Adelaide as part of next month’s South Australia’s History Festival.

The May 2 event will discuss our emotional connections to land, brands, tradition and innovation via public talks from three UoA academics who will unearth the distinct personalities and vibrant family histories of South Australian wine.

History professor Barbara Santich will discuss McLaren Vale’s many artefacts and relics - including the old dairy at d’Arenberg and the historic mill at Hardy’s – and how their stories impact on the present day; Dr William Skinner (Anthropology) will investigate the ‘cultural cringe’ around grafted vines and how local ones are actually more ‘authentic’ than many in Europe; and marketing expert Dr Steven Goodman will unpack the cellar door experience, including how customer engagement with wine brands is shaped and maintained.

Dr Milka will introduce the talks, which will be held at the Napier Building, North Terrace, from 5.30pm to 7pm.

Entry is free but bookings are essential. For more information visit the event page.