10.52am Yalumba Clocktower, Barossa Valley, South Australia
What a nasty hot bushfire day we had yesterday. Thank goodness it’s cooled down overnight, with even a few showers this morning. Looks like we’re in for a long hot summer! It’s nice and quiet at the winery today – pretty much everyone knocked off at lunch time yesterday, so it’s just the skeleton crew in today. We’re going to lash out and get pizzas for lunch from Damon, our local gourmet prize-winning pizza man down the street at Roaring Fordies.
**News Flash! Damon won the Best Gourmet Pizza in Australia award earlier this year with his “Smokey”. On a base of tomato and mozzarella cheese, he uses the best from the Barossa butchers: mettwurst (never lets on if it’s plain, garlic or brandy, or which butcher), lachsschinken (German-style prosciutto – again varies according to the butcher – Linke’s in Nuriootpa is my favourite), double smoked bacon (nowhere else but Schulz’s butchers right here in Angaston), and smoked chicken. In fact, Damon is off to Las Vegas in March 2010 to compete at the World Gourmet Pizza Titles with the Smokey, and seeing as I’ll be based in California that month, there’s every chance that I’ll get there to be part of the local cheer squad.
So we’ve finished the 160th Birthday Year off with our Yalumba Winery Christmas Party last Sunday, where the Hill Smith family invited everyone who works for Yalumba (as well as those who have retired) to come along with their families for a proper picnic on the front lawn. We had wood-fired pizzas, duck or Italian sausage sandwiches, fish or squid and chips, and strawberries and ice cream. What a lovely lazy day, and we had our own blokes from the cellar and services who make up the band “Boiler House” play a set in front of the Clocktower. I actually took a video of a couple of songs so you can check them out, but have to wait until Ryan comes back from holidays – just not high tech enough to get the vid onto the blog! But once that’s done and I figure out how to do it ongoing – you’ll be in for a treat as I make film clips on my next job away and put them up myself.
Which brings me to my next job away. I’ll be at the winery until the 12th February, then off to California for two months to work with our distributor The Henry Wine Group. Good deal for me, as I’ll be based out of San Francisco, but working right throughout the state. We did a slide show from The Mission district back in August, so this trip I’ll try and get you a bit of a look behind the scenes in Hollywood, Alcatraz, the Del Coronado Hotel in San Diego – some genuine tourist hotspots!
Then it’s through to the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival from the 19th – 25th April, where New Zealand is the featured wine country, and we’re part of The Rest Of The World. I’ll be travelling with Katy from the Nautilus winery in Marlborough, so we should be able to get into a reasonable amount of trouble between the two of us! Vancouver will still be in party mode from hosting the Winter Olympics in Whistler, so it will be a special time to be in what is already a great town any old time.
Then back to Australia for the release of Yalumba’s Rare & Fine reds and the whistlestop tour across Australia with a calendar of what has developed into mostly annual events. And hey ho – it will be July!So get ready at the Riverine Club in Wagga (I’ve already shipped in two 3 litre double magnums of back vintage Signature), the Silver Spoon and Hale Road Tavern in Perth, Old Bridge Cellars in Fremantle, the Spotted Cow in Toowoomba, the Canberra Food & Wine Club, Cafe Salsa up in Port Douglas, the Blue Sky Brewery in Cairns, Watermark and A Touch of Salt in Townsville – we’re coming back! Not to forget that we’ll be opening a new wine bar in Townsville this trip for Patricia and Rob Rose (Rob used to be the captain of the Townsville Crocs basketball team) called Vine 21. All good stuff.
Until then, I hope the Holiday Season and the New Year treat you well wherever you are, and we’ll see you – either on the road in your part of the world, or here at the winery – when it’s 2010.