Writer attributes hit to wine tour

Bellarine wine tourLocal legend and author Christopher Alberton, writer of 2006’s “Past Present”, attributes the success of the book, as well as the inspiration, to a Victoria winery tour Alberton took by himself in the summer of 2004. “I really wanted to get outside my head, and not do anything. I ended up doing everything because of it.”

Alberton, known at the time for his series of short stories and essays, had yet to find mainstream success. “Having come off the failure of my previous efforts, I vowed to take time off and just unwind. That was how I came up with the winding narrative structure and lonely character in Past Present.” The wine tour, set amongst the Bellarine Peninsula, served as the primary catalyst for what would be Alberton’s most accessible and acclaimed novel. “It made my career, in every way. I’m also so proud of that book and everything it’s become.”

The peninsula also served as the setting for the novel, which “chronicles the lifetime of a lonesome recently divorced man, told over the course of a single day, in a snaking and folding fashion.” Alberton himself states that he was never lonely on his Bellarine Peninsula winery tour, “I always had my notebooks full of ideas, and having a bottle of red by my side was never a bad thing. I can’t remember how many bottles I bought over the course of that trip but I hesitate to say over fifty.”

The interview comes in time for national winery month, celebrating the production and distribution of Victorian wines throughout February. Alberton, a notoriously secretive artist, allowed a one-time interview to “get out everything that’s been building inside me for years.” He went on to say that “the wine itself might have been more of an inspiration for Past Present than I gave it credit for at the time. I can’t recommend solo winery tours highly enough for people wanting to get their creative spirits to shine.”