Goodbye, Taras Ochota.

One of the great characters, and greatest of people in the world of wine left us today after a battle with illness. Taras Ochota has gone. He had the looks and the charisma that set the stage alight, and yet, was the most gentle and humble of men. He never had a bad word to say about anyone. He made wine that was wild and full of character, but with the experience and knowledge of a man who knew so much more than he’d ever let on. Hard work and experience, the backstory. He would welcome all and sundry with equal charm and enthusiasm, and had that rare knack of making anyone that came within his orbit feel important and special. He liked to party. He worked hard. His heart was made of gold. He was treasured by so many. He had floating pool toys that held an icy cold can of Melbourne Bitter. He could never remember his password for The Wine Front, but remembered it, and laughed after I set it to SpicyAnus69. He’d laugh and his eyes would twinkle and crackle when I told him one of his Chardonnay wines smelt of chicken and anus. He was loved and cherished like few others in our ‘wine industry’. There were no petty jealousies hovering around him – just good vibes and good times.

The sadness today is palpable, and the pain cuts like a Riesling that was perhaps picked just a little too early. He was a shooting star. A comet, the like of which only visits once or maybe twice a century.

He is survived by his beautiful wife Amber, and their two children, Sage and Anouk. I have no more words available today, though I'll raise a glass and think positive thoughts.

Vale Taras Ochota.

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