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Strikers Unwind at Wirra Wirra

A large slate with an inscription sits at Wirra Wirra’s winery entry. It reads:

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.  

It’s Wirra Wirra founder Greg Trott’s philosophy on life, which is the mantra that underlies everything the winery does. Much the same can be said for the game of cricket. Strive for greatness but this should all be fun.

Wirra Wirra hosted the Adelaide Strikers and their partners for a mid-season team building session at their Cellar Door in McLaren Vale. It was an opportunity for the players to get away from cricket and celebrate what they had achieved so far. Of course, this was never going to be a simple wine tasting. Following a gourmet lunch in the gardens, the team enjoyed quite the itinerary.

The Strikers were split into four teams and given lab coats and pipettes before being challenged to recreate the Wirra Wirra Church Block blend under the watchful eye of winemaker Kelly Wellington. Wirra Wirra Managing Director Andrew Kay joined in the fun, while Marketing Manager Simon Burley was tasked with watching Jason (Dizzy) Gillespie’s kids.

Jono Dean and Greg Blewett get their geek on. 

Wes Agar’s hat with Rachel Pearce, Jake Weatherald, Wes, Liam O’Connor and Michael Cormack. 

“This (battle) was fiercely fought, with the team of Blewy (Greg Blewett), Jono Dean, Nick Winter and Daniel Drew getting the choccies. The runners-up of Alex Carey, Joe Dawes, Jake Lehmann and Michael Neser were just tipped out, possibly due to Jake’s choice of team name, which may have struggled to get past the censor,” Kay said.

After getting to know their inner geeks, the Strikers then tapped into their inner artists, creating portraits of the winery using wine, tea, ink and twigs.

 The Strikers concentrate on their task, while attempting to distinguish between their drinking glasses and painting glasses. 

Artists on and off the field. 

Again the competitive side of the team reigned supreme as they earnestly took twig to paper, painting everything from stick figures through to landscapes. Artistic ability varied widely within the group, however they all received full points from the Wirra Wirra team for enthusiasm.

Carey took out the top prize, because apparently, there’s nothing the man can’t do.

“We were amazed by how the boys, their partners (and Dizzy’s kids) took to the task. There is some talent in this squad. Painting with tea and wine, Weathers knocked out an exhibition of three or four exceptional pieces in the time allotted for one and Dizzy showed talent to win most creative. However, equilibrium on the planet was restored when Kez (Carey) was awarded best painting for his take on the Wirra Wirra catapult and surrounding vineyards,” Kay said.

Alex Carey keeps his winning streak alive. 

As the grand finale, the group took to flinging watermelons from a catapult into a neighboring paddock, as you do.

Jake Weatherald took the winning fling, with his watermelon landing closest to the barrels, scoring a bottle of Catapult Shiraz for each member of his team. Perhaps it was the presence of his glamorous girlfriend Rachel Pearce that gave him the extra mojo he needed, or perhaps he simply refused to be shown up by Carey. Either way, he purchased a Wirra Wirra rugby top that he wears as a badge of honour, if social media is anything to go by.

The catapult is actually a “trebuchet”, based on a medieval siege machine that would have been used to hurl ammunition at castles back in the day. Greg Trott, who built the modern-day Wirra Wirra, had a vision that all the neighbouring wineries could build one of these and hurl bottles of wine at each other to draw tourists to McLaren Vale. Unfortunately, he passed away before his dream could come to fruition, so Andrew Kay had it built in 2010 by a local engineering firm.

While it sounds like Weathers and Carey took their fair share of glory, there were some other worthy mentions. Liam O’Connor slotted into the spirit of the day and was a lot of fun despite a late night the night before. Jake Lehmann brought his polarising fashion sense to the table and according to Kay, “Wes Agar’s hat was the epitome of sartorial splendour”.

Striking a pose beside the catapult.

Needless to say, the team-building day was well received by the Strikers and certainly didn’t do their results any harm.