Melbourne back in lockdown

Raising a glass of wine and beer to all those on the front line

These are such unparalleled and extraordinary times and I feel the weeks during the first lock down started to blur into one. Watching the news for the daily bulletin many times a day became a regular occurrence for me.

We are really in the “unknown” now and looking back, daily life and the new “norm” started to change from the 2nd March when I noticed the empty supermarket shelves. Then further change was to come from Monday the 16th March at midday when the State of Emergency was declared. It was to be in force for the next four weeks to help to ‘flatten the curve’ of COVID-19 and give the health system the best possible chance to manage the virus. It stopped non-essential mass gatherings and ensured there was self-quarantine for all those returning from overseas.

Graph showing cumulative count since the 10th case (log scale) from ABC


Then further change and restrictions were imposed

Monday 23rd March: From midday, all pubs, clubs, restaurants, cafes, gyms and places of worship close.

Tuesday 24th March: Schools are closed and the Easter holidays start instead of from Friday 27th March.

31st March: Stage 3 “stay at home” orders were announced and skate parks and playgrounds were shut as the case numbers in Victoria climbed to 821. And we could only leave home for the four reasons:

  • Doctors/medical care & care giving
  • Work/education
  • Food shopping
  • Exercise

Graph showing confirmed cases, cumulative count- source ABC

11th May: The Government announces small easing of restrictions which was to start from Wednesday 13th May

13th May: Now Victorians could leave their home for a fifth reason, to visit family and friends. With this up to 5 people were allowed into your home and you can go outdoors in groups of a max of 10. This also meant sport and recreation in groups of up to 10 people. Again we all had to continue to use common sense and social distance and use good hygiene measures but it was good to see a first step to loosening the restrictions, if people can maintain their distance.

For weddings, 10 guests are allowed plus the couple and celebrant. And for funerals held indoors, they can have 20 mourners in addition to those conducting the funeral and for outdoor services, 30 mourners are permitted.

At this stage, we were still not allowed to stay anywhere over night with still only essential retail therapy. Cafes and restaurants in Victoria remained restricted to takeaway.

Petrol prices on 27 April 2020

24th May: there was an update with changes coming from 26th May and from 1 June.

26th May: Playgrounds and skate parks reopen

1st June: Restrictions ease in Victoria and now up to 20 people allowed to gather in private homes. But according the ABC, “Exactly two weeks later, daily infection numbers climbed back into the double digits, and continued to grow.”

9th June: All state school students back in the classroom

Sign of Stage 3 as of 27 April 2020 effective 31 March 2020

22nd June: From this date, patrons at pubs and cafes and restaurants were meant to increase from 20 to 50 but this was not allowed due to the increase in coronavirus numbers

1st July: From midnight on 1st July, 10 postcodes in Melbourne CBD are put into lockdown  ABC NEWS

4th July: Residents in nine tower block estates in the Melbourne suburbs of Flemington and North Melbourne are placed into “hard lockdown” for at least five days.

8th July: Stage 3 starts from 23:59.

19th July: The public housing residents in North Melbourne that were put into lockdown on the 4th July can today leave their homes.


Back in lockdown

And today as of 20th July we are back into lockdown and schools remain closed to all those from prep to Year 10 (the holidays were extended 1 week). There were 275 cases today, another day of triple digit growth unfortunately with more lives lost. On the 17th July there were 428 cases which was a national record. Hopefully the lockdown should see a reduction in cases over the next 4 weeks.

In the meantime, online learning starts from today, 20th July. We are now in week 2 of the 6 weeks of lockdown under stage 3 restrictions. It is referred to as “Stay at Home restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire” that came into force from 11:59pm on Wednesday 8 July 2020. We are back into lockdown due to the spike in community transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) and once again we can only leave home for these four reasons:

  • Shopping for food and supplies
  • Medical care and caregiving
  • Exercise and recreation
  • Study and work – if you can’t do it from home

And from Wednesday 22nd July, it will be compulsory to wear masks. So I am glad I have one to wear as I was fortunate to find two to buy when I headed to the shops on 7th July. I wasn’t paying attention back in February so by the time I thought about buying a mask, they were sold out and I couldn’t find one until the end of May.

I am keen to buy re-useable masks but there are either 2-3 week delivery times or they are sold out so if anyone knows of a good supplier that provides material masks with a shorter delivery time, let me know at ruth [at], thanks!

With the current pandemic, I have been thinking of the health workers and everyone working on the front line from supermarket workers, doctors, nurses, bus drivers, teachers and child care workers. I appreciate them more now than ever before.

Apparently Australians are drinking alcohol more frequently during the COVID-19 pandemic than before, a new report from The Australian National University (ANU) shows.

I don’t feel I’m drinking more but when I do open the one bottle of wine on a Friday and Saturday night, I want it to be a wine that I can sip, savour and enjoy with my husband. With my wine background, I can’t help but analyse, study and appreciate a wine. So since the start of the pandemic, I have been making a note of wines to enjoy during the lockdown and more recently craft beers. I want to raise a glass to all those on the front line, thank you.

My top wines for lockdown in Melbourne:

Vasse Felix Filius Chardonnay 2018

Ever since lPicture of a bottle of Vasse Felix Filius Chardonnay outsideiving in WA I have enjoyed the wines that Vasse Felix produce. My budget doesn’t stretch to the more premium but the Filius and Classic blends are my “go tos” and are excellent value for money. This Chardonnay is a delight on the palate with notes of butter, lemon curd, toast and a refreshing backbone of acidity.

At $22-$24, it never disappoints. ($22.99-$24.99 at Dan Murphy’s & various wine stores)


Kaesler The Bogan 2017 Shiraz

I visited Kaesler in the Barossa back in May last year and was lucky to have a long conversation with Reid Bosward, winemaker and part owner of Kaesler Wines. I was interviewing him as the ‘Roaming Reporter’ working remotely for Swanbourne Cellars, a premium wine store based in Perth that stocks a wide range of excellent quality wines including The Bogan. You can read the full story on the Swanny blog here.

I love the story about the Bogan and the wine is even better. Read about how The Bogan started on the Swanny Cellars blog. There is so much length to this wine and I found it complex and yet Bottle image of Kaesler The Bogan approachable so young. Very enjoyable over our home campfire pit while we camped in the back garden over Easter. We did have plans to head to Torquay but due to the restrictions, we could not leave.

($55 at Kaesler online and Dan Murphy’s)

Port Phillip Estate Pinot Noir Nouveau 2019 

This wine is bright, youthful and a delight on the palate. Apparently it goes through whole berry fermentation, along with a small number of whole bunches. There is no fining and minimal filtration and minimal sulfur dioxide. I love the fresh berries on the nose with the similar notes on the palate with the refreshing acidity is divine. ($26 online at Port Phillip Estate)

Paringa Estate Pinot Noir 2017

This is a step up from any wines I have tasted over the past 6 months. There is so much fruit, elegance, spice and wonderful structure in this wine. The palate is complex and striking; perfumed with floral notes, elegant – almost velvety with such length and balanced acidity. The wine was matured for over 11 months on lees in French Oak barrels (38% new) – perhaps it is this that gives it the structure and texture that is a delight.  ($65 at Paringa Estate online)

M. Chapoutier Luberon Grenache Syrah 2018 and 2019

Michel Chapoutier is a winemaker and wine merchant who has made a name for himself in the Rhône Valley. So finding a wine from the Luberon which is south east of the Valley and less Bottle of M. Chapoutier Luberon Grenache Syrah 2018 well-known, I thought it would be a good find. And this was, because at $15.99, it delivers more than its price point considering it has come from half way across the world. There is spice and dark fruits in there all well balanced with the acidity backbone and a generous length. I liked the 2018 so much I went back to find more and discovered a few 2019s on the shelf which was even more delightful. Go with 2018 and 2019. ($15.99 at Dan Murphy’s).

Tomfoolery Young Blood Grenache 2019

This wine dances on the palate.

Bottle of Young Blood Tomfoolery 2019

It is lively while being fruit driven with some complexity and a long length. At $25 (bought at Hopheads) it delivers. Last year while working for Swanbourne Cellars I met with the winemaker and owner Ben Chipman (known as ‘Chippy’) in the Barossa Valley to find out how it all started, his vision and his plans for the future. The full blog article is here on the Swanbourne Cellars blog.

The wine is $25 available at Hopheads Altona and at Tomfoolery winery


I have just started appreciating beers so my tasting notes would not do the beers justice. I have a soft spot for sours and some textured beers but they tend to be over $5 a can especially when not on special. One can of a refreshing craft beer for me is like a mini meal with its textures and flavours. I sip, savour and enjoy. I must say I enjoyed some of the below across two birthdays during the first lockdown. With craft beer costing what it does, it is definitely a treat on special occasions and with the current situation I really appreciated them more this year than ever before.

Beer can of Pirate Life Acai and Passionfruit

Beers in lockdown

  • Pirate Life Açaí & Passionfruit Sour
  • One Drop Tropical Smoothie Sour
  • Colonial Brewing Co Sour
  • Brooklyn Bel Air SourCans of Wild Barrel Vice CranZu and One Drop Tropical Smoothie Sour and Colonial Brewing Co Sour
  • Tallboy & Moose Pukka Lemon Myrtle Sour
  • Moon Dog Jean-Strawb Van Damme Strawberry Sour Ale
  • Culture House Raspberry Berliner Weisse Beer
  • Modus Operandi Fizz Wizard
  • Pursuit of Hoppiness No 5 – Hargreaves Hill
  • Wild Barrel Vice CranZu
  • Tallboy & Moose & Beerfarm Snickerdoodle Apple & Cinnamon Amber Ale
  • Bone Head Brewing Fat Dog Marzen
  • Jetty Road Brewery IPA


All of the above (except the Brooklyn Bel Air Sour) were available at Hopheads in Altona  at a cost of $5-$15 per can. The Brooklyn Bel Air Sour is available at Dan Murphy’s for $5.24 per can.


Thank you

Thank you to all the health care professionals, all those on the front line and to the government for the support. We are lucky to have the health care facilities here in Australia. We are still living with the virus and need to remain vigilant. Stay safe and keep well everyone.

Please note, the number of cases were correct at the time of research but they may have since changed.