Saturday March 7th, 2010 will be marked in my diary for two poignant reasons; one, it was the day that our almost eighty year-old Eden Valley Riesling vines were hand-picked, and secondly, that it was on that same night (albeit that 2am was really Sunday March 8th), that my new business, Collective Barossa was vandalised for the second time in seven short weeks.
The first episode of vandalism, just three weeks ago, was far less damaging than last night's effort but nonetheless, still, a disrespectful and stupid act. This morning's effort resulted in the opening of the shop being delayed significantly and more than a few hours of intense cleaning of shattered glass. A sad state of our community. I do hope that the perpetrators realise eventually that to intentionally damage any building, let alone one built in 1866 which has stood strong and proud for so many decades, is a terrible thing to do and it should weigh heavily on their conscience.
Also, they should think about the fact that this building, home to a magnificent collection of priceless items, lovingly and consistently tended by the dedicated committee members, all volunteers, and many of them in an older age bracket, theoretically belongs to them also, and will one day in the future belong to their own children i.e. in the community sense. I do hope that the people responsible can be caught and learn a valuable lesson, about others in our small community and also perhaps about themselves. I sincerely thank Don and Irene Ross of the Museum Committee, James of Karra Yerta and Steve of Kurtz Family Vineyards (who both were busy doing pump-overs of their 2010 red wines at the time of my call for assistance) for their help in tidying up the unnecessary mess.
On a brighter note, due to my time being tied up with my business, I didn't have the opportunity to help with the hand-picking of the riesling this year, and must admit, I missed it and don't feel as if I know much about it. However, in saying that, I have been regularly given reports from James who informs me that this year's riesling vintage is a very good one.
The grapes were picked a touch earlier than usual and the crop was above average in tonnage. Only a matter of hours later, a steady light rain (which has returned spasmodically throughout today) started, giving the ranges a much needed, gentle drink. It should help to freshen up the shiraz and semillon vines but I am glad that the riesling was picked before it as that was the variety most at risk of damage being so ripe and ready. The 2010 juice is now under the watchful eye of our riesling winemaker, Peter Gajewski.
Our Barossa Shiraz grapes that we source from the Kalimna/Moppa area were also picked last week, and James has been doing pump-overs on that, morning and night, religiously over the past days. Again, he is making our red wines at Biscay Road Vintners. He is incredibly lucky to be working along side Peter Schell and Jason Schwarz, two exceptionally talented and creative winemakers and general all-round nice guys.
So life is busy, still, but we are working our way through vintage as best we can, with a few curve-balls thrown at us along the journey. We just keep plodding away, hoping that in some way, things will work out. That's all you can do. As my favourite author Hunter S Thomspon used to famously say "Buy the ticket, take the ride". We certainly did, and we certainly are...