Sunday, June 15, 2014

Thank you!

Hello everyone, from the cold and wet Barossa Ranges!

The time has come to begin to wind up this blog, and a final post is forthcoming but in the interim I want to call a huge shout-out to the following inspirational, helpful, wonderful, honest people who have in no small way, assisted me to get to the point that I am now at, which is near The End. Finally!

I dedicate one of my favourite songs - Thank you - to you all:

 Every customer of Karra Yerta Wines 

 Every customer of Collective Barossa

Philip White (legendary wine journalist and amazing man)

Steven Kurtz (Kurtz Family Vineyards)

Mark Mader (Gumpara Wines)

Ben Carwyn (Carwyn Cellars)

Chris Plazzer (Cloudwine Cellars)

Robyn Lewis (all round inspirational woman)

Julian Coldrey (wine journalist)

Jeremy Pringle (wine journalist)

Gary Walsh (wine journalist)

Andrew Graham (wine journalist)

Shane Barker (The Lonely Grape)

Sue Schulz

Peter Gajewski
Peter & Vicki Widdop (Old Mill Estate Wines)

Kym Burgemeister (Boutique Bottlers)

Kym Montgomery

Jo and Mark Seater 

Bill Biscoe

Simon Garlick (Chilli Chocolate Marketing)

Chris Ringland (Ringland Vintners)

Bob & Wilma McLean (McLean's Farm)

Apologies to anyone I may have missed. This may be a list that needs to be edited a few times. 

I really have no words to convey my relief at this segment of my life being over so that I may move on to other things. That ray of light really is getting bigger!

Cheers for now, and I really do mean cheers!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

No banjos but plenty of amazing wine and food at McLean's Farm.

This is just a short post to feature some photos that I took recently of some of my favourite Barossa Ranges winemakers during one of the infamous Long Lunches. Great food, beautiful wine and good company made for a perfect Autumn afternoon. Some may say we play the banjos out this way, but I can tell you, I didn't spot one all afternoon! Bob McLean and Chris Ringland were far busier opening fine bottles of wine than looking for musical instruments to play:) Thanks to Bob and Wilma McLean for a memorable and fun afternoon!

Cheers for now,

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Finally, a Ray of Light!

 "Faster than the speeding light she's flying
Trying to remember where it all began
She's got herself a little piece of heaven
Waiting for the time when Earth shall be as one..."

I am not a huge Madonna fan but one of my favourite motivational songs is "Ray of Light".

It really does pump me up! And tonight, I am feeling ever so exhausted on a physical level but pumped mentally knowing (on counting our remaining stock figures, and sending yet more emails with tracking numbers to my amazing customers), that I CAN see that Ray of Light which I have been working so hard toward for the past few years.

Even when I was working at a gold mine, driving in and out almost 450km and working twelve hour days in almost fifty degree celcius temperatures for twelve days straight, I would still try to chip at the wine block on my days off or sometimes even when I was at work (at nights, while living at camp). Sheer dedication and perhaps desperation, which is finally, FINALLY paying off, in every way. I am so happy. My shoulders are not happy (from lugging dozens of wine for many weeks), but I am happy.

During my time at the mine, I paid off one wine business debt (instead of going bankrupt) and now, I can almost sniff that feeling again knowing that soon, the debt of Karra Yerta Wines will also be wiped out. No easy feat in the wine industry whether people want to admit that or not. I am extremely proud of my efforts and most of all, grateful for having the best customers that anyone could want, and also for the support of a few retailers that stay true to their word on making payment (harder to find than what you would think!).

I won't miss being in the wine industry, but I will miss the fabulous people who email me with orders and then words of thanks. Kind people. Good people. People like I used to meet physically when I still had Collective Barossa open. So many incredible life experiences, but at a cost. Many lessons have been learnt and though I am slowly getting over the angst that many caused me, the memories of their actions will stay with me and that is good as I will not make the mistake of giving out my trust or my energy to the wrong people again. Ever. Therefore the entire experience can only be good as I have learnt what NOT to do more than learnt what TO do. It is an interesting life, this wine business.

I still have friends in the business and I sincerely wish them well. Please do support Kurtz Family Vineyards and Gumpara Wines especially. Those guys rock! I know how hard it is to make any profit. I know how hard it is to do as much as possible yourself (who can afford to pay wages?), and I know how tiring it is having to chase people up for money. There sure are easier ways to live but when you are passionate, it somehow seems worth the blood, sweat and tears. I lost my passion. It was a raw and unexpected feeling and at the time, I didn't really understand just how much my life would change. I am so glad it changed.

I can hold my head high and those who spat nasty words at me can hang theirs in shame. I will not leave this business with any bad debt. A good friend once told me that when people say really nasty things that you know are simply not true, that they are speaking about themselves. Well, yes. The ones who were nastiest to me are the ones who owe people the most money and continue to lie. Ironic, yes? Indeed.

I do not mention this out of spite. I mention it because it is part of my story. MY STORY. I gave this industry a good crack and tried so hard to help promote the Barossa and failed. But as a person, I did not fail. The venom from some made me try even harder to succeed at my goal of having a responsible and respectful exit strategy. I have grown more than I thought possible. I see things with a whole new perspective. I believe that the most painful lessons teach us the best lessons. I look forward to selling the last few pallets of our wine, and then moving on to a completely different path.

Mid life Crisis? No! It is a Mid life Awakening. Bring it on! I don't know if I have posted this quote in any of my earlier blog posts but it is worth a repost anyway. From one of my favourite movies and much like the song mentioned earlier, one of my most favourite motivators EVER; from the totally brilliant film, 'Shawshank Redemption' - "Either get busy livin' or get busy dyin'...." I choose the former. Selah.

Cheers for now,

Friday, January 31, 2014

By Jingo! It's Australia Day - let's run for the hills!

"Now listen,
Oh we're steppin' out.
I'm gonna turn around,
Gonna turn around once and we'll do the Eagle Rock.
Oh momma!
Oh you're rockin' well!
Hmm yeah you do it so well.."


Well, January 2014 certainly has proved to be a challenging month in many ways, certainly not helped by the spate of fires throughout the state of South Australia, some of which were far too close to my home in the Barossa Ranges - one at Eden Valley and two fires three days prior to that one, even closer, at Flaxmans Valley. In the thirty years I have lived in this region, I had never seen anything like it, nor felt the fear of a bush/grass fire, so personally. A blood red sky at night did nothing for my fast dwindling sense of safety. Personally, I think there is no overreacting in situations like this - better to get out and be safe than the alternative. Needless to say, a girl needed a bit of a distraction from reading the CFS warnings, stories of loss, and having two evacuations, desperately. 

So when I was reminded via a Facebook event notice that there was an Australia Day long weekend of fun at By Jingo Wines I literally did hop in the car, take a magnificent and relaxing one hour drive south through the winding roads and pulled up to the fabulous shed cellar door in the beautiful Adelaide Hills, in a scream of dust! The look on John Gilbert's face as my Honda screeched into his driveway was priceless. I hadn't seen him for about six years, so a visit was long overdue. He's my kinda wine guy - unique, down to earth, honest and fun!

John's mate, Luke, took charge of the vinyl (yes, vinyl!) on the day and the tunes were fabulous! After a fine platter we were all enjoying the tunes and doing our own Eagle Rock with a glass of By Jingo in hand. The lovely hostess with the mostest, Annick, served all day long with a genuine smile and her equally lovely offsider, Elizabeth, were simply fabulous company and new friendships were made and many laughs had. 

Pop over to the By Jingo website to see what they do, as it will be worthwhile. It's hard to put into words just how different the beat of their drum is to many other smaller wineries - from the amazing location just a few kilometres out of Mt. Barker on the Wistow/Strathalbyn road, to the chooks casually strolling around the lawn, to the amazing vegetable patch, to John and Annick's terrific personalities..... oh, and of course the incredibly different and delicious wines. These guys do things with style, no doubt about it, and that is why even when I am no longer involved with the wine industry, I will still class them as great friends. I admire them. Their passion and dedication to making unique wines is 10/10. Personally, my favourite is their Barossa Shiraz. Just astounding wine! I think it will always be one of my favourites. Check out the photos below and do keep an eye on their website or Twitter or Facebook pages to keep up to date with happenings. 

Cheers for now,  


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2014 - The Best Thing.

Have no fear. There is always a way out.

"I put my spacesuit on
And count back ten to one
The gravitation pull gets stronger
My skin it pulls away
My brains are on a plate
The weightless feeling here is bliss..

This is the best thing that has ever happened to me
These are the colours that I've always wanted to see....."

The Best Thing that has ever happened to me was to NOT achieve my dream of having a successful retail business in the Barossa Valley. A few years ago, I thought I would forever live in the Barossa, in the same house that I had lived for twenty eight years and with the same partner that I married in 1989. In working myself almost to the point of an early grave, and in doing so, seeing much for what it really was and many for who they really were, and the sheer ugliness of it all, it became apparent that changes had to be made.

As I have stated before in earlier posts, when my amazing and much loved bookkeeper advised me to close shop and run, (and declare bankruptcy for my shop debt) I chose to put it out there that I needed a job in a mine to earn fast money to pay off my debts and take the weight off of my over-laden and oh so tired shoulders. Thirteen months later (and not forgetting that my new job in a mine began only a month after the doors of Collective Barossa closed for the final time), I was debt free and had found something in me that I never thought existed - Freedom of Spirit and Inner Faith. Many had left their scars on me when I left the Barossa. I thank them, again. Those scars have helped to make me what I am today, and though things are still tough for numerous reasons, the light is truly at the end of the tunnel. My new life, my new vision, my new passion has made me a better person. I am extremely grateful. Those who put the knives so deeply in my back are still treading the same paths as they were two years ago. I pity them, but I cannot help them. I can only help myself and those who are worthy of my help.

So, in stating all of the above, I am, in my usual style, announcing that my part in the running of Karra Yerta Wines is coming to a very swift end. I will have more to say on this in a future post. Perhaps not. Many know the stories behind much, and really, it probably doesn't matter. What matters is that my customers and friends (including many still in the wine industry) know that I won't be in this game for much longer. It's time to spread my wings and journey into yet more new adventures.

Hence, I am still trying to sell as much of our older stock (we have not made any wine since the 2010 vintage and trust me, our wines have only improved with age!) and clear as much remaining debt of Karra Yerta Wines as possible before completely moving on. If I can clear the debt of Collective Barossa, I can certainly clear the debt of Karra Yerta Wines and it is well within my reach. I have to go to the storage facility at Stockwell to get an accurate stocktake as there are many bits and pieces left, but primarily I have 2009 Eden Valley Riesling and 2008 Shiraz Cabernet for sale for $130 a dozen with free delivery in Australia. Both of these wines have won medals - the riesling a bronze at the Canberra International Riesling Challenge and the shiraz cabernet a silver medal at the Barossa Wine Show. The reviews are on this blog page if you want to find them. I have let the Karra Yerta Wines website lapse as I see no point in more outgoing costs so this blog and our Facebook and Twitter pages are the only places left to find information on us, other than various reviews etc on other wine review websites.

So for now, that's it. If you would like an order form, please email me at and though I am busy doing orders from Christmas/New Year, I will reply as soon as possible. Thanks to all who have been so positive and helpful over the past years/months. I know that you know who you are. Good things happen to good people and though sometimes it is hard to see it, out of every bad thing comes something good. Selah.

Cheers for now,

PS If you want to see a visual record of my personal growth and new passion, have a look at my photography page here. The entire world is my new home. I look forward to sharing more views of it with you in the coming years.