So this week we have a special interview. Lynton interviews former Sydney Swans legend, dual premiership winner and WineCloud fan, Jude Bolton, about his love of good wine. Jude played 325 AFL games and his attitude on and off the football field impressed everyone and he has become a role model and sports icon right across the country. His contested ball winning, tackling and hardness at the contest were all areas in which he led the way for the Swans across his 15 year career. Jude was a member of the Sydney Swans leadership group from 2003 until he retired after the 2013 Preliminary Final and is now working in media roles for both Triple M and Channel 7.
First of all Jude, I have to qualify this by touching on just how professional you were off the field during the AFL season and pre-season whilst you were playing as I’ve seen this first hand. I remember going around to your house for dinner early to mid week once during during the AFL season. Of course knowing your lovely wife Lynette all too well, I took around a good bottle of wine (I can’t actually remember what it was now but I know it was a good one) and I was super impressed that even though licking your lips, you were so professional you just borrowed Lynette’s glass, gave it a little swirl and then just had a sniff! An amazing wine on a Monday or Tuesday night and you wouldn’t touch it… How hard was it to maintain that sort of discipline & are there any tips you can give young aspiring athletes?
It was hard at times because you do feel anti social on occasions but I think it’s become so tough at the elite level to compete week in / week out that I became accustomed to prepare professionally. It’s more of a mental game than physical at times.
In terms of advice to young players I’d say you owe it to yourself and your teammates to leave no stone unturned to ensure you have the chance of winning the ultimate – then you can really celebrate!
Ok, I have to sneak in a quick AFL question… What do you consider your top 3 AFL career moments?
The two premierships 2005 & 2012 were by far and away the best two moments. Team success is what it is all about for me. If I had to choose an individual moment then it would be playing and beating Collingwood in my 300th game in the Prelim final. Got to take my daughter through the banner which was really special.
So, back to the wine. What’s your favourite style of wine and how often do you get to try the good stuff nowadays post retirement?
I like changing it up. Whether it be a nice Pinot Gris or Riesling over dinner with grilled fish and salad. Or getting a big Shiraz from your neck of the woods over in SA and enjoying a steak or a slow cooked lamb shoulder.
What’s been your greatest wine experience so far?
I always enjoy doing the wine tastings at little cellar doors because you know you can take your time and talk to the wine makers – however recently my wife and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. We matched the wines with 10 course degustation at Guillaume’s restaurant in Paddington. We chose to go on a European tour and some of the wines were simply exquisite.
Now, rumour has it you have just going through a major renovation of your house but have forgotten to allow for a wine cellar. What’s that about?
Just renovating the back part of the house at the moment. Stage 2 I will be sure to include a cellar under the house!
Now I know you got a wine fridge many years back, what’s that wine hiding away in there that you are most looking forward to opening?
Well… leading into the renovations and thought of turning the wine fridge off was of great concern. Therefore, I must admit that I had a few sessions where the red wines flowed and a few friends/ family flocked instinctively like the salmon of Capistrano to enjoy – so many have been drunk. But I had a 2004 Penfolds Grange in there along with a 2003 St. Henri Shiraz, they were the pick of them I’d say and were thoroughly enjoyed. Time to start building the wine fridge up again.
Do you have a favourite cellar door to visit?
I had a recent trip with my former teammate Ryan O’Keefe and our wives down to McLaren Vale where we went through a number of sensational cellar doors. I think I have to get back and have a full afternoon at either Samuel’s Gorge or Coriole just to settle in, take in the view and some quality wine.
Ok, back to the footy. One tip for any up and coming Aussie Rules players out there on how to succeed?
The game is going only one direction – you have to be able to run and produce repeat sprint efforts. Also practice the skills of the game under time pressure & decision making under match fatigue.
Jude Bolton, thanks for your time… You are a legend of AFL footy and a great ambassador to the game and it’s been pleasure picking your brains a little about your interest in wine. We really appreciate your time and insights.