Big Bob McLean, what is there to be said that hasn’t been already?
Pol Roger, St Hallett, McLean Farm; marketer, Brand Barossa Ambassador, problem solver extraordinaire; yup, that’s all been written. Bob was Big for sure, in personality and stature, big in voice, big in ideas and big in bringing people together…but everyone knows that, and you can read many stories about those things.
The Bob I knew was all of those things, but he was also just a great person. He was known as Sir Lunch-a-Lot by many, but it wasn’t just that he ate a lot, a “long lunch” with Bob meant discussions about everything imaginable, I remember sitting down with him for lunch at 11:30am and finally leaving at 4pm. We talked about more than just the wine industry; cars, boats, people…everything, yet it seemed as if we were there for only a flash of time, one thing Bob was not is boring.
Bob loved things that worked the way they were supposed to, and gave you a thrill a the same time. One day he showed up at our Aussie house in Port Willunga driving a beautiful Triumph Stag. For those that aren’t familiar, Triumph jammed a giant engine into their usual mid-size frame and the result was an absolute rocket ship which could test the confidence of even the most courageous drivers. He wrestled himself out of the car as I walked around it in awe, and he said “Take it for a spin, and make sure you press your right foot down all the way or you may as well not go”. I did take it for a spin, driving on the wrong side of the car and the wrong side of the road, when I did press my right foot down the Stag suddenly felt like Bob, big in power and not backing off, it was awesome and an uncontrollable smile rose on my face.
That’s the way I remember Big Bob McLean, not just giving or generous with his things, but he truly wanted you to experience the joy of life the way he had; drink great wines, eat great food, drive cool cars, and spend time with interesting people. Don’t wait until it’s convenient or planned, just do it when the opportunity presents itself, like…right now.