Monthly Archives: November 2011

And now we fly north to the Tropics

11.46am, Wednesday 30th November, Kingsford Smith Airport, Sydney, New South Wales

Morning, folks, and a very sultry morning it is here in Sydney, with a storm definitely brewing. Still, it’s going to be something like 35 degrees C and 95% humidity up in Cairns, so I’ll be breathing warm water in a few hours! But at least we’ll be doing it on the deck at Yorkey’s Knob Motor Boat club – great view of the ocean, and whatever is in the glass will be frosty cold!

All went well at The Manly Pavilion last night with our dinner event, and when I get back to the winery, I’ll put up some stories in detail – I have a backlog! – but want to include photos. Currently I can’t do that as I have to confess that I smashed my iPad to smithereens last trip when the cover slid back and I dropped the complete unit face down on the street! Yep – don’t believe them when they say that glass is virtually bulletproof – not so!

So getting back to The Manly Pavilion, it won Best New Restaurant for 2010, and I can see why. Location, food, the way the whole thing runs like an elegant ” no pretensiousness in sight” machine – and back to the food. The chef is ex Astral (the glass room on top of The Star City casino), and what he does with shredded celeriac, beetroot and rhubarbis pretty jolly special. I promise a proper review over the weekend.

And I can add a new limited language skill to the CV – Mandarin.

OK – “nee how ma?” is “how are you, and I am interested in how you are”. If you just want to more or less say g’day very casually, it’s just the “nee how”. Then ‘red wine’ – good term to have when Signature is a feature wine – is “ho tchow” Which probably needs phonetic spelling really to get that right. And for the last word of the evening, a nice goodbye is “syayy syayy”. You always get to learn new stuff every day in this job.

So now it’s off to Far North Queensland and tonight’s big Festive Season Opener at Yorkey’s Knob with the boys – the mighty Rash, Benny and Damien – our men in FNQ. And I think I’m ready. I have lots of new stories from the last trip to Ireland, England and Scotland – and we should be in for a seafood treat.

Talk to you later, when it’s from the steamy tropics!

Today Sydney … tomorrow Cairns

6.56am, Tuesday 29th November, Adelaide Airport, South Australia

Morning, folks, and a really warm morning it is – with a nasty storm brewing out there over the Adelaide Hills. We’re off to Sydney today, and we have a really interesting job this evening with some folks who have just discovered Yalumba for the first time. We’re doing a tasting of several of our ‘top end’ wines with food matched to each by the chef at the Manly Pavilion. Then tomorrow it’s on to Cairns where we will be kicking off the Festive Season for the Yorkey’s Knob Motor Boat Club. That will be a big night out, as most of the folks at the Club have no trouble whatsoever sliding into top partytime gear at any moment day or night! Add to that their $10 special dozen oyster deal and it’s fun times most of the time. Yep – I’m looking forward to that job, and they’ve been such staunch supporters of our wines. Starting their Christmas festivities well is the least that we can do.

PS We were out and about around the vineyards over the weekend, and it looks like up in the Hills flowering is under way – and down on the Valley floor flowering has pretty much moved into set. The canopies all look healthy, so at this point in time – fingers crossed – things look well.

See ya when we’re in New South Wales for the day.

Hi Barossa Valley – I’m home

9.12am, Wednesday 23rd November, Yalumba Clocktower, Angaston, Barossa Valley, South Australia

Morning, folks, and it’s nice to be back in Angaston, and all the good things – like the Clocktower at Yalumba – are still where they were when I left. And it was nice to get back into my trusty ute ‘Big White’ and trundle down the main street yesterday – parked right in front of wherever I needed to go – and spared a big thought for the super stressed London commuters who never get to do that! So this morning I’ve caught up with where I need to be for the next three days, and will be off shortly to fill up the ute with diesel and head south for Naracoorte – right on the doorstep of the Wrattonbully winegrowing region. The big race day is on down there tomorrow, and I’m doing a talk for our man who runs our vineyards in Coonawarra and Wrattonbully – James Freckleton – at the industry seminar being run beforehand.

What are we going to do? We’re going to talk about what I do out and about on the road – it’s called “Opportunity in a difficult climate”. Excellent timing, as I have literally stacks of hard work but good news examples from my recent trip away.

Then on the way back up to the Barossa, we have a wine lunch on Friday at The Avoca Hotel in Adelaide for our gal around the traps, Therese Stolle, who used to be our gal in London inside the M25. This should be a lot of fun with 70 people already registered and lots of good material from the trip just ready to roll. What an excellent way to kick off the Avoca’s Festive Season.

So I’ll see ya when we’re at the races – I have the suit dry cleaned and two new pairs of stockings, so watch out gals – I may even have a crack at “Fashion on the Field”! Stranger things have happened.

Stopover KL – satay capital of the world

8.09pm , Monday 21st November, Kuala Lumpur Airport, Malaysia

Ok folks, that’s the big part of the milk run home done. And boy, this time made up for having Mr Saville Row sitting next to me when I first flew up from KL to Paris at the beginning of this adventure nearly 7 weeks ago! I had the seat with no working anything, slotted right next to the bloke who could easily win the world snoring championships. At one stage I thought he was choking to death! So haven’t slept a lot at all, and with any luck will pick some up on this next short hop down to Adelaide.

So I guess I’ll see you all when it’s South Australia.

Off to check out the latest in the duty free fragrance department – quite like that very hot Michael Schumacher celebrity blend! Very citrus and understated!

My first security body search! Heathrow!

7.10pm, Sunday 20th November, Gate 6 , Heathrow Terminal 4, London, England

OK kids, I need to share this one with you. I’ve set off the airport security scanners everywhere since having the new knee fitted in February this year, but this is the first time I’ve had to be taken away for the body search. Yep … not much fun, as you don’t actually get to choose who you go in there with! You just have to get on with it, and make the best of a really ordinary situation. Just for the record, if I was getting my gear off this trip, the private room at security – Heathrow terminal 4 – would not have been where I chose to do it! But I lived, and have had yet another unique travel experience that a lot of folks don’t get to do.

Oh yes … and the Apple store today – what a top time I had there! I’m going to have to go visit the one in Sydney week after next when I’m working up there. I had no idea they had such neat gizmos to play with. Mind you, I thought I might have activated some sort of “watch out this person hasn’t got much of a clue about computers” alarm going into the store – they all looked like they knew exactly what they were after. Me – I asked all the basic “what does this thing do” questions, and I think the sales guy actually enjoyed the novelty and gave me a heap of his time. Yeah, I need to hang out in Apple stores more.

Any rate, I’m here, I’m in one piece and ready to start the run home. See ya when its KL.

Goodbye London … for now

12.09pm, Sunday 20th November, Apple Store, Regent Street, London, England

If this doesn’t impress Brenton Fry, nothing ever will. I am at the Apple store buying iPad stuff. Not bad at all for an old school operator who started off with a slide rule!

I have to buy an otter, which apparently is the protective case for the iPad, which I definitely need!

So off to Kuala Lumpur at 10 tonight, and I ‘ll see you when it’s Malaysia.

Thanks very much England, it’s been more than memorable this trip, and I’ll be back as soon as I can.

PS really like this new glitzy glam model iPad!

Hi London … I’m home … for a couple of days

7.51am, Saturday 19th November, London Bridge, London, England

Mission accomplished folks – one very relieved driver gave one car still in one piece back to the Hertz hire car people at the Pisa airport yesterday afternoon. And what a day at the Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa yesterday – it was so warm that everyone was in T shirts. I guess I was just seriously lucky with the weather – remebering that at the sae time last year, most of Europe and the UK was under a ton of snow and Big Freeze ice.

So it’s London for today, set the program up with our PR gal Val for the next Yalumba tour of this part of the world, then this afternoon we’re off to the local football match – big game stuff for my West London boys, the Brentford Bees.