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Communities rally around Brad Fernando

February 5th, 2021Communities rally around Brad Fernando

COMMUNITIES around the Central Highlands, Ballarat, Bendigo and beyond are rallying for wine connoisseur and regional wine advocate Brad Fernando, after he was diagnosed last year with an aggressive tumour of the jaw.

Friend Kate Davis said Brad would never ask for help for himself, but with months “to endure and some major expenses along the way including speech therapy and the hope of reconstructive surgery”, his friends were rallying for him.
“It’s always the most generous people who ask for nothing in return. But now we are asking for the friends of the most giving person, Brad Fernando, to come forward and support him.
“Raised in the inner north Melbourne suburb of Carlton, home to iconic Italian restaurants as well as Jimmy Watson’s Wine Bar and King & Godfree supermarket and wine shop, there was a life plan mapped out for Brad, even if he was unaware at the time.


“Brad started his first part-time role at 14 years of age, packing groceries at King & Godfree, while his mum Heather worked just down the way at Watson’s Wine Bar.
“‘All my wages went on cured meats, Bisleri mineral water, plus olives and cheeses etc. from the great deli at K&G’, he always says.
“At the very young age of 17 and a half, Brad headed to Europe, where he worked front of house in London for a couple of years.
“Six and a half years later, he returned to Melbourne and worked at Alphington House wine bar in Carlton, under the guidance of Brenda Symons, and alongside renowned chef and restaurateur Annie Smithers. From here, it was on to the Lord Newry Hotel in North Fitzroy, followed by time spent with Iain Hewitson at Memories of the Mediterranean.
“Brad had the privilege of working with some amazing people at Memories of the Mediterranean, and learnt so much about the hospitality industry.
“Years later a move to regional Victoria to Ballarat where Brad worked at Bibo café, followed by time at Eclectic Tastes.
“A job came up with well-known Pyrenees winery Summerfield. Brad worked with Summerfield for eight years, before going out on his own with his own business Regional Wine Sales Victoria, and also working with Australian Wine Agencies.
“Brad always was a great advocate for the region and now represents some fantastic wineries from the Ballarat, Pyrenees, Grampians and Macedon Ranges wine growing areas.”
They include A.T Richardson, Grampians, Clarnette & Ludvigsen, Grampians, Fratin Bros, Grampians, Tomboy Hill, Ballarat, Sally’s Paddock, Pyrenees, DogRock, Pyrenees, Will Talbot Wines, Pyrenees, Summerfield, Pyrenees, Amherst, Pyrenees, Glenlofty, Pyrenees, Granite Hills, Macedon Ranges, Welshman’s Reef Vineyard, Bendigo, Turners Crossing, Bendigo, Bill Brand Family Vineyards, Coonawarra, 321 Cider, Learmonth and Springmount Fine Foods.
But Kate said last September, Brad was diagnosed with an aggressive tumour of his jaw, resulting in the removal of most of his bottom jaw, and a lot of his tongue. Brad has spent the last three months at the Alfred Hospital, and is now undergoing radiation and chemotherapy.
He has, she says, a path to endure with major expenses including speech therapy and the hope of reconstructive surgery.
“Ever the bon vivant, Brad has been a passionate advocate, tireless and generous in his promotion of all things regional, wine and hospitality. Now is our chance to give back. It is time to get around our mate, and Rally for Braddy.
“We all know that Braddy would not be comfortable with people donating directly to him, no matter how tough his battle. However, we also know that he loves all things wine, and he would be happy if people were buying and drinking good wine in his name.
“Therefore, we are calling on all of Brad’s friends to donate wine, so we can create a ‘Brad’s Box’ to raise money for our mate. You may have one bottle, six or dozens – any donation will help.
“Once we have collected all of the wine, we will package them into a Brad’s Box”, which will consist of six bottles of wine and these will be sold via the Mitchell Harris Wines website. If you can donate wine, or if you can buy wine, then you can help!
“If you are in a position to donate wine, we are asking for all bottles to be dropped off to the Forge Pizzeria, 14 Armstrong Street, North Ballarat by February 5.
“Once we have all of the bottles, we will create the boxes and the wine will go on sale from February 11. All boxes will be priced at $150, although depending on donations we may also have some premium offers which will be priced accordingly.”
Anyone interested in receiving an email when the wines go on sale can email Kate at kate@plateupballarat.com.au. The sale will also be promoted on the social media pages of Plate Up Ballarat and Eat Drink West.
All wines are to be collected from Housey Housey at The Forge on the weekend of February 27-28 unless it is being delivered.

Words: Kate Davis & Donna Kelly | Image: Contributed



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