Who stole Vanya Cullen?

Winemaker Vanya Cullen has gone missing from Club Deluxe, one day she was here, next she had disappeared into the night, a victim of a drunken prank perhaps? Let me explain.

Club Deluxe’s interior was designed by the up and coming San Francisco designer Chloe Redmond Warner.

We love what she did (California Home and Design and Elle Decor did too, they are both coming in to photograph), but we did have to have just a little bit of fun too, we can’t take ourselves all too seriously now can we? We decided to send an email out to all our Aussie and Kiwi winemaker and importer mates asking for photos for a “winemaker wall of fame”.

Chloe then had them printed all different sizes, framed and mounted and we hung them all around the bathroom in no particular order (by the way, the winemakers that have found out the wall of fame is actually in the toilet think its hilarious, thank god there are no prima donnas among them).

Many of them submitted answers to a series of questions when they sent their photos in, which are also printed on the photos.

People tell us they love reading the winemakers comments on the photos, they also tell us that it is slightly strange to be sitting (or standing ) with 50 faces staring at you while you do your business.

So here the real story begins. Last Friday morning Anna was going about her morning business and discovered that some bugger had pinched a photo off the wall.

After standing there mystified for a few minutes staring at the empty hook where this face once was, we realized it was Vanya Cullen, from the wonderful Cullen winery in Margaret River.

Now I have never met her but judging by her photo, Vanya is a very nice looking lady but also no slouch in the field, perhaps that is why she got knicked first?

Other than running the Cullen winery, she worked vintage at Robert Mondavi in 1985 and Domain Joseph Drouhin in Burgundy in 1987 and was named winemaker of the year in Australia in 2000 among many other achievements.

The Diana Madeline Cab Merlot (named after her mother and co-founder of Cullen), is considered one of the best in Australia and I secured on of the best vintages, the 2001, directly from my mate Gavin Speight at Old Bridge Cellars (the importer).

So we love the winery, love the wine, she is arguably one of Australia’s best winemakers (and very committed to bio-dynamic practices) and one of only a handful of women on the wall (which also raises her in importance in my mind).

We love a joke as much as the next person but perhaps taking pictures off the wall does push the limits of even drunken decency?

I have heard of (but yet to meet) the salt and pepper shaker bandits that prey on restaurants (you know who you are).

Our loo is unisex so the popular theory around Club Deluxe is that unless the guy had a big jacket to hide it under or a man-bag (this is San Francisco after all), it would’ve had to go into a ladies handbag, not the evening-just-fits-lipstick-and-ID kind, an oversized, I-just-came-from-work-and-need-to-carry-lots-of-stuff kind.

So, you heard it here first folks, the new rule of restaurant thievery is that anything edible in a satchel should be considered fair game, if its attached to a wall (or other hard surface), refillable and/or looks like it cost more than 5 smackaroos, paws off please.

Any information leading to the return of the photo will get a reward of what else, a bottle of the 2001 Cullen Diana Madeline Cabernet Merlot (incidentally one of the more expensive wine on our list at $125 dollars a bottle but totally worth it in my book).

Only catch is, you have to put up with us, because we plan to sit and drink it with you and enjoy every drop. And we will post your photo on the blog (OK, that can be negotiated) Lets bring back Vanya!