I started writing this post on my way home from Melbourne, one of my favourite places to visit, so rather than start from scratch, I am going to try to continue the flow as I sip on a glass of red, and reminisce about my wonderful five day break that I waited three hundred and sixty five days for. I didn't have the Roadhouse Blues at all:) Oh, how I love The Doors! But back to my post which I started four days ago:
It's a magnificent spring day and as I have a few hours spare, while my co-driver takes the wheel, I plan to utilise the time to catch up on my blogs and other social media.
On the long weekend of October, every year, I travel to Melbourne to meet up with a group of Melbournian ladies to attend the Hawthorn Football Club Best and Fairest Dinner (officially known as the Peter Crimmins Medal Dinner). It's always great fun and I also make the odd wine appointments here and there. This time round however, I seemed to have spent more time talking about wine privately, than at business appointments, and as I could actually share a glass or two whilst doing so, it made a nice change from standing behind the counter of the Collective Barossa shop.
I think that I made much progress on convincing people that riesling is worth revisiting. I am still amazed at the general misconception that in a city of (what I find) predominantly Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay drinkers, most people think riesling is a sweet wine. If I had a dollar for every time that I heard people speak of the rieslings of the late seventies/early eighties with much disregard and certainly not fond memories, I'd be fairly wealthy at the moment. It's very rewarding talking to people and being able to hand them a glass of our riesling, and see their reactions. I really do think that riesling will become more popular sooner than later, especially now with the International Riesling Scale which tells consumers, in a simple diagram on the back label, just how dry or sweet the contents are. I simply didn't have time to get the scale put on our 2010 riesling but certainly will for our 2011 vintage.
The Hawthorn Dinner was wonderful, the wine meetings and new friendships made were incredible, and the journey itself through Victoria was magnificent. Due to the recent rains/floods, the drive through Victoria was astonishingly green and lush. In past years, I have seen dust and fields of yellow and brown; smelt the drought in the air, felt it in my skin. Scary stuff when it's usually the last days of September or first days of October (not even summer yet) when I have witnessed the dire need for good rains throughout the state.
Through such pretty towns as Great Western, Ballarat, Inglewood, Horsham, Bendigo, Loxton, and through the heart of mallee country; Pinnaroo, Bordertown, Ouyen, I saw Australia's raw, natural beauty. I saw through the eyes of the international travellers that lob into the Collective Barossa shop, travelling to or from, Adelaide to Melbourne. I felt their sense of wonder. It took my friend and I approximately fifteen hours to drive back (it usually takes about nine or ten hours). We stopped at some towns for petrol, coffee, food, and a spot of other shopping, but most of the delay was caused by me wanting to stop and take photos! I had a very patient and understanding friend with me. I think in the end, he loved it, even though it meant arriving home many hours late, at midnight:) Sorry about that, Sue:) I feel that I captured some of the heart and soul of rural Australia in my photos this year, which is a total contrast to those taken at the same time/same events from 2009. Amazing.
To all of the friends and business acquaintances - old and new - who made our trip and stay so very hospitable and full of incredible memories, sincere thanks. I look forward to visiting again in the near future! And, if you are reading this and have not travelled through the towns that I have mentioned, mark it down on your to-do list as it truly is worth it:)
My recommendations for this trip are the Country Bakehouse at Loxton (country style food which is always sensational) and the Melbourne Tramcar Restaurant (an amazing experience and the staff and food are A+).