Who would've thought a set of roof racks would be so much trouble?
Who would've thought a set of roof racks would be so much trouble?

Fiddler on the roof-racks

Grape Expectations by Max Crus

Column No.1392

HEY, maybe roofs-racks would be useful?

We could pick up that Ikea wardrobe that’s been out of bounds since COVID closed the border.

They’ll be simple to find and fit, too easy. Great idea. It’s 10.30 Saturday morning, should be sorted by noon.

Warning: No two car roofs are the same and no two roof-racks are the same.

Also, the only one you can afford, the one on special, will not fit your car.

The next least expensive one, co-incidentally the simplest to fit, is not suitable for your car because you have a sunroof. You can buy it and fit it, but you can’t open the roof or it will get stuck.

Eventually, after nearly 30 minutes of staring at a wall of roof-racks, the necessity of some assistance is admitted and sought.

30 minutes later that assistance arrives and declares the most expensive rack on the rack, approximately twice what you had thought was a reasonable price for a combination of metal and plastic, is the most suitable for your vehicle.

Then you need the bracket kit.

What? It doesn’t even come with brackets. No. Extra.

Oh well, it will almost double the market value of the vehicle, bite the bullet, and your credit card.

“Would you like us to fit it sir, we only charge $80?”

How hard can it be? No thanks mate. I’m pretty handy on the tools.

Back in the garage, after looking at the wordless instructions for some hours, convinced they were for a different rack altogether, the penny dropped just as the sun did.

That peculiar picture (Diagram 1), with the two thumbs and a bit that didn’t seem to be in my box, translated to “remove this piece that doesn’t appear to be removable with your thumbs by pressing twice as hard as you would think would break it. This will reveal the Allen screw in Diagram 2 that you have been looking for for the past four hours”.

Position the brackets and tighten, and do not exceed 50 kilograms on each rack.

Funny how in hindsight that $80 - barely enough for a couple of decent bottles of wine - seems trivial now.

But hey, it gets better. Turns out I saved $1000 on the wardrobe. It weighed 65kg.

That’s a couple of cartons of decent wine.

Angullong Orange Region Shiraz 2019, $22. Most serviceable shiraz, which is more than I can say for my roof racks. 9.1/10.

Angullong Orange Region Merlot 2019, $22. For a quarter the cost of a roof-rack fitting this is quite possibly the best value merlot in the country. Flavoursome, fruitful and smart. 9.3/10.

Rusden Barossa Valley ‘School Days’ Shiraz Viognier 2018, $40. Also bright and beautiful, which my wardrobe would have been, but at least I have two cases of this instead. 9.4/10.

Rusden Barossa Valley ‘Good Shepherd’ Malbec 2018, $38. Even brighter and beautifuller than the ‘’School Days’, this is also somewhat sweeter and somewhat easier to imbibe, however by the third glass you’ll want a shiraz instead, which is convenient because this bottle would be empty. 9.5/10.

Terre á Terre Wrattonbully Crayéres Vineyard Cabernet Franc Shiraz 2018, $32. Fairly raw red but a novel and worthy variation on the classic Aussie combinations. 9.2/10.

Terre á Terre Wrattonbully Crayéres Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2019, $50. That’s a fair whack for a blanc sauvignon and even though you can only get one if you fit the roof-racks yourself, but it’s worth it. Quite possibly the most interesting sauv blanc going. 9.5/10.