And Now for Twenty Eleven

2.34pm, Tuesday 4th January 2011, Yalumba Clocktower, Angaston, Eden Valley
Back to work folks, and it’s all pretty quiet here with a skeleton staff manning the winery. Before I get started on Yalumba stuff though, I just wanted to let you know that I had a really quiet Christmas and New Year, but Santa was very good to me. I got an Elvis Presley oven glove and an autographed photo of the cast of the Sea Patrol TV show. There’s my favourite second from the right – the Commanding Officer Mike Flynn (Ian Stenlake in real life). So this kid was pretty happy with that! (Editor’s note: Sorry, folks, I have failed on the photo front. I’ll post it when I am back on deck.)

But back in the vine and wine world, things in the Barossa look pretty lush. We’ve had a lot of windy weather which helps keep things like Downy Mildew at bay, so fingers crossed things will stay that way. They reckon there’s still more rain on the way though, so right up until the bunches go through the crusher – we’re going to be at the mercy of the weather gods. Just watching the flood water spread across central and southern Queensland as well as northern New South Wales, it’s hard to believe that a lot of that ground was drought stricken for years. And then in about a month’s time, a lot of that water will work its way down into the Murray River, and folks are already getting itchy about the possibility of towns like Mannum getting flooded as they did in the 1950s. Strange weather days indeed.

Staying with the weather, I was talking to the boys at one of our English ‘fortresses’ for Yalumba (ie one of those spots that will always have us on their lists forever as it’s a mutual love affair between us) – Estbek House – just before New Year’s Eve. They’re right on the North Yorkshire Coast in a little village called Sandsend, just north of Whitby. David was telling me that the beach was frozen sheet ice, they had a foot of snow the night before, and they didn’t have any water running because it was frozen solid in the underground pipes. They haven’t seen anything like it before, and are already looking forward to the ‘big melt’ in the spring … but that seems a long way off at the moment.

So that’s my start for 2011 – never really got comfortable writing 2010 and it’s gone – and my plan is to try and get something written on the blog for every day this year from here on. Now that I’m learning the iPad and the technical wizards downstairs in IT are setting that up with wireless access anywhere – I won’t have any excuse!

It will be an interesting year, as at this point I’m going to be at the winery until mid March – so will see vintage well underway – before going to the East Coast of the USA. The plan there will be to work with the distributors that look after Yalumba from Boston down through New York and New Jersey to Washington DC, before coming home to work with the new vintages of Yalumba Rare & Fine released across Australia in June and August.

And I’m out to get some more landmark photos as we go – as well as the best of the food that is matched up to our wines. No point being in the Barossa without showing you Mengler’s Hill Lookout, and no point going to Manhattan without showing you Katz’s deli. So with any luck, it will be worth your while checking in every now and then to see how we’re getting on.

So Happy New Year and I hope Twenty Eleven treats us all well.

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