Trainee Oenologue Joe Duncan with a barrel of Riesling during the 2002 harvest at Hugel et Fils cellars in Riquewhir, Alsace, France.

Dr Joe Duncan savouring a glass of tasty Shiraz.

Not to be confused with ‘oncology’, although the similarity would make an ideal game show question, Oenology is the science and study of wine making, oinos being the Ancient Greek for wine.

While obviously linked with viticulture, the term for vine-growing and grape-harvesting, oenology is the end stage of the process (apart from the drinking) and along with a good nose and palate the mastering of it requires tertiary study.

Although Joseph Michael (“Joe”) Duncan says he only “stumbled into wine making” he did complete a BSc (Wine Science) at Charles Sturt University, reflecting during our interview that because he was no good at art, “wine making became my version of painting… there are so many things you can change.”

NorDocs, the Northern Rivers group of doctors that discusses local medical matters on its FaceBook page, is holding its second forum on 1 June 2019 at UCRH, Lismore, opposite Lismore Base Hospital. The forum will run from 9 am to 5 pm.

The conference is based on the Unconference format where many of the delegates are also the presenters. This format provides the flexibility for participants to present and discuss matters that are of interest to them. These may be small items or short lived issues that would not normally attract the attention of larger medical organisations like Primary Health Networks or Local Hospital Districts.

Dr Chris Lowry

North Coast anaesthetist, Chris Lowry, has been awarded the Order of Australia in the recent Australia Day Honours list.

Dr Lowry is a former Director of Anaesthesia at Lismore Base Hospital as well as a past Director of Clinical Training for Junior Medical Officers and a past Anaesthetics Training Supervisor. He has been heavily involved in training LBH residents and registrars over many years and as testament to this work some of his former students have returned to the area as consultant anaesthetists.

Dr Lowry has a long standing interest in underwater medicine which he first developed when he joined the Navy  in his medical student days in Sydney. He subsequently served with the Navy for four years full time then subsequently as a reservist. After leaving the navy he trained as an anaesthetist. Her was a VMO at Royal North Shore Hospital before coming to the North Coast in 1992.

The Social Leap

How and Why Humans Connect

William von Hippel

Scribe 304pp $29.99

A myriad of books discuss who and what we are, and why we behave the way we do. From Darwin to Dawkins, human genetics and behaviours have gone under the microscope, and it is hard to imagine what mysteries remain to be uncovered, apart from the causes and possible cures of many illnesses.

Yet William von Hippel has compiled a highly original and enjoyable account of human evolution and its inextricable relationship with our psychology.

Homeless, homeless 
Moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake 
- Homeless, from Graceland album by Paul Simon

Venture out any night to the picnic grounds, car parks, beach dunes and sporting fields in and around any Northern Rivers town – Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore, Casino… the list goes on – and you’ll see people sleeping rough. Some will be in park shelters, others in their cars or vans, huddled in alcoves in town, in single tents issued by welfare agencies or under tarps strung between trees.

There’s nothing romantic about “moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake”, especially when the weather is wet or cold, let alone when you’re fearful of being assaulted, even sexually assaulted, or having your meagre possessions stolen by other homeless people, possibly affected by substance misuse or mental health issues, or by someone out to have ‘fun’ at the expense of the vulnerable.