Travis Schultz talks wine with Todd Widdicombe

Travis Schultz talks wine with Todd Widdicombe

Arguably the Sunshine Coast’s most likable larrikin, Mix FM host and media personality, Todd Widdicombe is to wine what a bread-roll is to a coeliac. A self – proclaimed “ beer bloke”, Todd denies any knowledge of grape types let alone any enthusiasm for the products of fermented berries. So in my eyes, there’s no better person to chat to about all things oenological to gain an insight in to the perspective of a double-parking shandy drinker!

Picture: Iain Curry

My recent chat with the Coast’s king of the airwaves wasn’t the first time we’ve crossed swords over the virtues of wine over beer. Being the giving and charitable ruffian that he is, Todd has selflessly agreed to co-host a number of Winemaker’s Masterclasses for local charity, Sunnykids in recent years. To hear his quarrelsome exchanges with winemakers from across Australasia has filled audiences with mirth but left wine aficionados bristling at his apparent lack of appreciation for the products of the vigneron’s labours. Try as I might, my co-host steadfastly refuses to recognise the reality that wine is better for you than beer. After all, wine, like his fine self, wine gets better with age; but have you ever tried drinking a 45 year old beer?

Though I have to confess to my lack of appreciation of beer. Call it barley soda, amber fluid, suds or sherbet, I’m the last person to ask for advice as to a good choice of brewski! But if you’re heading to the bottle shop to score a half rack of hop juice, Todd’s definitely your go-to. But what does Sami’s sidekick know about wine? To start our discussion, I decided to give Toddy a short quiz about all thing wine, and it quickly became abundantly clear that he wasn’t going to be the next Dux at Roseworthy Agricultural College:

  1. Q. What are acids?
    . Hallucinogens that people usually take to make average music sound mint…not that I’d know though, you’d be better off asking the purple dragon in the corner of the room about them, be careful, he’s a biter.
    (the correct answer is that the compounds that give wines its tartness)
  2. Q. What’s a “drip Dickey”?
    Not entirely sure but if you’ve got a drip dickey, I’d probably see a Dr.
    (the correct answer is that it’s a an accessory that slips over the bottleneck to catch any drips of spilled wine)
  3. Q. What is “fining”?
    . something video shops used to do if you forgot to bring ya movie back…I’m still into Blockbuster for a coupla hunge.
    (the correct answer is that it’s the process of removing suspended particles from the wine)
  4. Q. What’s a “hogshead”?
    . This is the original name of the Hogs Breath food chain. No relation to Hogwarts, which again if you’ve got those, see your Dr.
    ( the correct answer is that it’s a 239 litre wine barrel)
  5. Q. What is “racking” ?
    . Charlie Sheen does with Cocaine?
    (the correct answer is process of removing wine off the sediment after it has been fermented)
  6. Q. What’s “flabby”?
    . dictionary definition is a picture of Toddy, nude. Hey I’m built for comfort not for speed.
    (the correct answer is wine that lacks structure)
  7. Q. What is “noble rot” ?
    . This entire article.
    (the correct answer is that it’s a name for bortrytis – the fungus that dehydrates grapes enabling production of sweet desert wines).
Picture: Patrick Woods

So it would seem that for once in his life Todd Widdicombe was right; he really doesn’t know much about wine! But what about his favourite drop if he is forced to quench his thirst with something from a corked bottle rather than a tin can? “I’m partial to a good pinot gris (pronounced Pee-knott Greece to the uneducated) but truthfully, I’m happy with most plonk as long as it pairs with me being a parent of 4 cherubs, every day. I’m also about the health benefits of wine, it’s medically proven that 2-3 glasses of vino a day drastically reduces the risk of you giving a s%$t! (Rats). Vavasour Pinot Gris goes alright. Their Sauvignon Blanc (Pronounced Sarve-igg-non Blank) is a treat too.”

It’s rare for me to agree with Todd on anything, so it was refreshing to hear that we at least reach consensus on New Zealand Pinot Gris. It’s perfectly drinkable and in my humble opinion, a much better style that their fruit cordial in a bottle that masquerades as a sauvignon blanc! The Vavasour Pinot Gris comes from the Marlborough region and sells in the majors at less than $20 a bottle. The 2018 edition is the current vintage and is worth taking for a spin with Friday nights Chinese takeout!

And finally, the question on everyone’s lips, why is it that a tinnie is better giggle juice than an aperitif composed of fermented grape juice?

“In Biblical terms it’s a well-known fact the beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy. In literary circles even a famous English playwright once wrote “to Beer or not to Beer” that is the question. Obviously the answer is “to beer!”. Pretty sure it was William ShakesBEER who penned that. The other thing is I like the honesty of beer. You see too many times wine has promised me it would make me funnier and sexier and a better dancer than ever before…if you’ve seen the video footage you’ll agree, wine has lied to me too many times!

I will always be a beer bloke, if for no other reason it’s about the health benefits. Think about it, beer is made from hops, hops is a plant, therefore beer is salad. Healthy choices people, healthy choices. Bottoms up!”

Thanks for sharing Todd; always the good sport!


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