Philip – or Whitey, as he is known – received the diagnosis just three weeks ago and has now started radiotherapy, the first step in a treatment plan advised by specialists at the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer.
Longtime friend Milton Wordley, one of the organisers of the wine auction to be conducted by Langton’s Fine Wines in late January, says money raised will help meet his ongoing medical expenses.
“Originally Philip was not going to have any radio and chemo treatment but has decided to go with the advice of his team of specialists in the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer.
“He has every faith in the team, and from what he’s said, he feels he could not be in better hands.”
Donations of six-packs or dozens of wine are being sought from winemakers for the auction (details below).
The cancer treatment could take months, and Milton says it is hoped that funds raised will “make the road ahead a little smoother” for Philip.
A wine critic for almost 40 years, Philip has written for both newspapers and gastronomy magazines, and was made a lifetime Baron of the Barossa for his work in conservation and the environment.
He has been writing regular columns and wine reviews for InDaily since its print days as The Independent Weekly, as well as publishing his Drinkster blog. He also collaborated with photographer Wordley on the book A Year in the Life of Grange, which won an award in the 2013 international Gourmand Wine Books Awards.
In an article about the fundraising auction by WBM (Wine Business Magazine), fellow critic Max Allen is quoted as describing him as “the best wine writer in Australia”, adding “he can wield the language with more skill and dazzling invention than the rest of us hacks put together”.
Milton says there’s a risk the cancer treatment will cause Philip to lose his sense of smell and taste – but he hasn’t lost his sense of humour.
“He’s one of our industry’s great characters, I think, and I’m sure a lot of people would go along with that.”
The wine auction will be unreserved, with no vendor commission and the buyers’ premium and all hammer proceeds going towards Whitey’s medical and associated expenses. Wine donations (full six-packs or dozens only – exceptions would be collector bottles or magnums) can be delivered to P. White Charity Auction, C/- Yangarra Estate Vineyard, 809 McLaren Flat Road, Kangarilla, SA 5157. Final date for delivery is Friday, December 21. Contact Peter Fraser at Yangarra for any shipping or auction inquiries.