Sunday, September 28, 2008

"Teamwork is the thing that talks"

As mentioned in one of my earliest blog entries, the whole idea of "selling" our wine came from a night at Melbourne's Crown Casino where I literally bumped into Jimmy Lindner (Langmeil Wines) after I had attended the Peter Crimmins Medal Dinner (aka as the Hawthorn Football Club's Best and Fairest Dinner).

As a keen supporter of the Hawks since 1989 (and a proud, passionate and paid-up member since 1999) the club - much like the wine industry - has had it's fair share of ups and downs; times of exhilaration and inspiration, and times of despondency and frustration. I never lost faith in my Hawks but there were days where I did wonder just how long it was going to be until things improved. I have had similar feelings with our wines - concerns about sales or the ability to make a profit, if the vintage will be a successful one etc to happier moments of seeing glowing reviews, or receiving emails from happy customers or large orders that give us the capacity to finance the coming year's processing.

The winning formula for Hawthorn in 2008 was their ability to work as a team. I would like to think that the same philosophy (again, as stated in my earlier blog "We're all in this together") will breed success with not only our wines, but those of the Barossa/Eden Valley, and indeed Australia as a whole.

Australian wine has copped its fair share of negative publicity, particularly in the US and UK press in recent weeks. It is certainly time that Australian wineries stood together, or in some cases, continued to stand together, and realised that we are all on the same team - our products as varied on every point as what the players on the field are - Australian Barossa Shirazes as big and powerful as Buddy Franklin, and our Eden Valley Rieslings with as much class and finesse as Luke Hodge - all different aspects that when put together form a portfolio that one can only be proud of!

The wine industry, much like football, is a funny game - there really are no certainties. What happens, happens, and you make the best of what you have. You can make progress going it alone but it's never as much fun or as successful as when you band together to share the passion and pick up on each other's drive. There are a few things in the making over here right now that relate to the teamwork aspect (in regards to the wine) but more about that in a later post. For now, I am enjoying the outcome of the 2008 Grand Final - a result that I waited 17 years for... Congratulations to the Hawthorn team of 2008. You are an inspiration!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Melbournians and Mooncakes

Spring is here and what a magnificent weekend it was, in every way. Our favourite Melbournian friend, Terence ( came for another visit. We had not seen him since April so it was a long time between visits. Terence brought two friends with him, Moses (from Singapore) and Dennis (an ex-pat American who resides in Australia and works with Terence in Melbourne).

Terence, Moses and Dennis had flown into Adelaide the night before to meet up and travel from Adelaide to the Barossa for the annual Artisans of the Barossa tasting held at the Angaston Institute. Terence makes his trips from Melbourne to the Barossa as crammed full of all things vinous as possible but always makes time to visit us. He is definitely one of our favourite visitors and we always enjoy the time spent with him immensely.

We opened up a bottle of our 2005 Eden Valley Riesling, a 2005 Bullfrog Flat Shiraz, a 2008 Eden Valley Riesling (not released yet) and a non-vintage Sparkling Shiraz - a collaboration between us, our neighbours, Colin & Fiona Sheppard of Flaxman Wines and one of their friends, Nathan. Sitting in the old red-gum stable, sharing mooncakes - a lovely gift to us from Terence - (see below for information on these treats), cheese, crackers and wines, life could not have been any better!

We ended up sitting around our kitchen table sharing fabulous Roaring Fordie's pizza til quite late in the evening. It was a terrific night and we hope to have the company of Terence, Moses and Dennis again sooner rather than later.

MOONCAKES - During the Yuan dynasty (A.D.1280-1368) China was ruled by the Mongolian people. Leaders from the preceding Sung dynasty (A.D.960-1280) were unhappy at submitting to foreign rule and set how to coordinate the rebellion without it being discovered. The leaders of the rebellion knowing that the Moon Festival was drawing near ordered the making of special cakes. Backed into each mooncake was a message with the outline of the attack. On the night of the Moon Festival the rebels attacked and overthrew the government. What followed was the establishment of the Ming dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644). Today, moon cakes are eaten to commemorate this event.

You can read more about mooncakes here: