The wine collection



In January 1998, the Prime Minister opened the permanent
exhibition of the Bradman Collection at the State Library of South Australia. This important
contribution to our state's cultural heritage was made possible by the
fundraising efforts of the State Library Foundation. But the Bradman Collection is just one of
the State Library's many treasures, and one by one, the foundation is raising
the money needed to properly display these wonderful collections. The next project is perhaps the most
important for people who love South Australia as the Wine state. It's the wine literature of the world. The State
library's Wine Literature Collection is recognised as the best in the
Southern Hemisphere and among the best in the world. The State Library of South Australia's
oldest wine item is a leaf from an eleventh century German
manuscript book which contains punishments for drunken monks. For
instance, 15 days on bread and water if you drank so much that you vomited. 30 days on
bread and water if, when you were drunk, you encouraged others
to get drunk. And 40 days on bread and water if, when you were
drunk, you vomited the communion wine and
sacred host. Ampelographies list and describe grape varieties, you might
call them family histories of grapes, and they're often beautifully
illustrated. The State Library has a wonderful collection of french ampelographies
from last century. With nearly 3,000 books in the Thomas
Hardy Wine Library and the Cellarmaster collection of rare
wine books alone, the collection includes everything from
rare manuscripts to modern reference books. This is a panoramic view showing the
vintage procession at the village of Vevey in Switzerland.
This one is for 1889. The State Library has a wonderful collection of drinking songs
and my favorite is a book called Buck's Bottle Companion published in 1775. "When Bibo thought fit from the world to
retreat, as full of champagne as an egg's full of meat, he waked in the boat, and to Charon he said, he would
be rowed back, for he was not yet dead. Trim the boat and sit
quiet, stern Charon replied. You may have forgot, you was drunk when you died." Another highlight is the wine label
collection of almost ten thousand labels from over the years, and from around the world.
Hugh Johnson is one of the world's leading wine writers in English, but he's also responsible for
putting out a pop-up book, at which he is the wine waiter, at a dinner at which Winston Churchill, Cleopatra and
Napolean are present. Leo Buring made a visit to Europe to
study wine making practices and we have the diary which he kept on his visit to Geisenheim in Germany in 1896. It's one of many diaries we have in the State Library about wine making. The State Library of South Australia is home
to the Wine Literature of the World Collection, with much of it being housed in the
historic Mortlock Library chamber, one of the most gracious library chambers
in Australia. This magnificent new exhibition will feature interactive multimedia displays as well
as treasures from the collection itself, providing a unique cultural experience. In
addition to the physical display here in the Mortlock Library, it's planned to digitise the
collection and display it on the World Wide Web, so it's available to a national and
international audience. With the library's current web pages
receiving fifteen thousand hits per day, this
provides an outstanding opportunity to promote our wonderful wine state to the whole world. After the
great success of the Bradman appeal, the State Library of South Australia Foundation is now seeking your support for the Wine Literature of the World
Collection. Hard to think of a more suitable South Australian project,
isn't it.

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