Monthly Archives: June 2012

A warm corner in our cooperage…..

5.32pm, Friday 29th June, The Cooperage, Yalumba, Eden Valley Rd, Angaston, The Barossa

Evening folks, the sky outside is clearing for what’s going to be a very frosty night, chasing a stormy old day that’s belted rain and hail into the Valley from all sides. There’s ice dropping out of the air, so one of the best spots in the Barossa to be right now is in our Cooperage. Right here, by the fire pots – that are usually used to dry out the barrel shells after they’ve initially been bent into shape and secured with mild steel hoops.


We’re all having a bit of a mid winter get together after work before the weekend – everyone from all over the winery drops in for a catch up……and tonight as a treat we’ve got Schulz’s baby bratwurst sausages in a roll with local home made tomato sauce. Yum!


And just in case you’ve not been to a Cooperage – this is where we bring Oak for making wine barrels into the country from France, the USA and Hungary, we season it in these stacks, letting the weather do a lot of the hard work…..


And then the coopers do their magic, and turn those planks into these barrels – octaves ready to use on the next vintage of our Octavius Old Vine Shiraz…..


So I’ll just grab a sausage in a roll, drown it in tomato sauce, catch up with the blokes, then it’s either over to a mate’s shed to toast my boots on their fire……or down to the Nuriootpa Tigers Football Club. They’ve got their Sportsmans Night on with the mighty Adelaide Crows champ and Brownlow medallist Mark “Roo” Ricuito and Aussie squash champion Chris Dittmar. Haven’t made my mind up yet, but either way it’s a winner Friday night on the way!

See ya when it’s the weekend and I’ll let you know who from the Australian team we’ll be following on the blog at the London Olympics just around the corner.

Winter Solstice at Adelaide’s Cabaret Festival

2.59pm, Friday 22nd June, Yalumba Clocktower, Eden Valley Road, Angaston, The Barossa

Afternoon folks, and Happy Winter Solstice for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere. That was yesterday – the shortest daylight hours of the year – and from today the sun starts moving back towards the South, and our days get longer. And a cold and wet old wintry Thursday night it was, so I took the best option I could find and went to a double header back to back shows at the fabulous Adelaide Cabaret Festival. At both shows, I was out to try and re capture my long ago youth. The late show was Don Walker – piano man from legendary Oz rock anthem band Cold Chisel – and his from the road life “Tales from the Landsborough Highway” show.

But up first was a 3 man David Bowie tribute romp through most phases of his music titled “Ziggy”. Jeff Duff set the bar way up high by opening as the ‘impossibly Thin – and quite spangly White Duke’ with a scorching version of “Starman”. (if you’re old like i am, you might remember Jeff as the lead singer of the jazz fusion band Kush) And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, out comes Steve Balbi (ex “Noiseworks”) and he IS the ‘Diamond Dog’. If you’re in Adelaide – get into the Festival Centre and check these boys out……it’s all finishing this weekend.

And just for a moment, we still had cassette players in the car – that sounded tops with the volume wound right up, the hamburgers at the Blue and White cafe up on O’Connell Street had egg, cheese, bacon and BBQ sauce as standard items, and the “Jean Genie” ruled the airwaves. ….sorry, back through the Twilight Zone doorway now.

And off to talk about wine at tonight’s major fundraiser for one of our favourite footy clubs down in the Adelaide comp – the Sturt Double Blues. See ya when there’s a stack of footy players with me!

But I leave with you with the “Ziggy” page from the Adelaide Cabaret Festival program…..well done to this years Artistic Director…Kate Ceberano. Thanks for a magic night out!


Barossa Mid Winter

10.01 am, Yalumba Clocktower, Eden Valley Road, Angaston, The Barossa, SA

Morning folks, and outside, the heavens have just opened, dumping some much needed rain water into our world. So far this Barossa winter has been very cold but dry…..not today. This is the view from the Clocktower looking down across the courtyard – past the two old weeping fig trees – to Percy’s Homestead on the left, and the Tasting Cellar on the right.


It sounds like the rain has set right in, so with any luck it will just keep tumbling down and give everything a much needed drink. Most of the vineyards around the Barossa stand in very neat and tidy rows – pruned and set up for the next season’s bud burst. Now it’s a matter of finding a nice warm fire somewhere early in the evenings, and into bed before 10 o clock!! And the odd nightcap of Museum Muscat or Antique Tawny doesn’t go astray either!!

11.22am, Turretfield Road, Barossa Valley, on the way to Adelaide for work…….

This is just what I’m talking about – a nice big drink for the newly seeded cropping paddocks between Tanunda and the Turretfield Agricultural Research centre. And yep… gets VERY boggy out here, so I’ll stick to the main – bitumen – Gomersal Road for today.



Country Footy – Who are the ‘Cabbage Cutters’?

1.49pm, Saturday 16th June, Uraidla Oval, Uraidla, Adelaide Hills, South Australia

Afternoon, folks, and all over South Australia on a Saturday it’s all about going to the footy. From 8.30am when the under 13s start, on into the A Grade, there are lads playing their hearts out for their local jerseys. Mums and dads do everything from being goal umpires to serving sausage sandwiches off the BBQ, and the younger kids turn their playing jerseys inside out after their games and go boundary umpires for the next grade up. You can drive your car right up to the fence for a ringside look at the game, and stand around your team for the end of quarter instructions from the coach. It’s old school, and I love it.

Right now it’s 3 quarter time in the B Grade match between two teams in the (Adelaide ) Hills League – the Uraidla ‘Cabbage Cutters’ 6 goals 7 points and the Blackwood ‘Woodies’ 4 goals 6 points. They call the Uriadla side the Cabbage Cutters because their team is made up from a tiny hamlet – Uraidla – and the surrounding market gardens and orchards in that part of the Adelaide Hills. Most of the lads in all divisions at the club play much older and stronger lads from the bigger towns and cities in the Hills, and you can see the same apple, strawberry, pear, lettuce, onion, potato and cabbage growing family names down through all the team lists – that’s why they call them the Cabbage Cutters.

So hang on to your hats – one quarter to go, and there’s a lot at stake besides local pride. Winner stays second on the ladder, loser drops to fifth. Then it’s the A grade game, then it’s the mandatory after match dinner at the club, with the added attraction tonight being the judging of the Uraidla Football Club ‘best beard grown for the winter’ competition. You can’t beat country footy!


Yalumba and AFL star Jason Akermanis – lunch today at The Bay

12.09pm, Friday 14th June, Glenelg Football Club, Jetty Road, Glenelg, SA

It’s a good day to be having lunch with a footy legend, folks … Jason Akermanis … sometimes controversial – always unforgettable … and a big part of the Brisbane Lions’ ‘back to back to back’ three premierships in a row 2001, 2002, 2003. Here’s the advert for the event, and it’s a full house today up in the Glenelg Football Club dining room, overlooking The Bay – home oval for Glenelg since 1920. Those were the days that packed trams would have ferried diehard black-and-gold clad Tigers fans down to see their boys run out on a Saturday afternoon. Great days indeed.


We’re previewing our Yalumba 2010 Patchwork Shiraz today – with beef fillet on potato rosti with field mushrooms – good winter warmer stuff to go with what should be a lot of fun at lunch. See ya later – I’ll let you know how we go.

PS Saturday 16th June – OK folks, here’s how the rest of the day went. I have to admit, I was expecting Jason Akermanis to be the ‘clown prince’ of AFL football that the media would have us believe…..but instead I’ve become a total fan!! When he was playing at the top level, love him or hate him – Anytime he got near the ball at all, you didn’t take your eyes off him because anything spectacular was likely to happen. Yes…..he was that good. But the playing brilliance always seemed a bit overshadowed by the on ground showpony cartwheels and backflips, and the ‘quotable quotes’ in the footy and mainstream press. Well yesterday I – along with 200 of the Glenelg Tigers Football Club faithful – got to see the bloke completely up close and very personal. He has a tremendous story and tells it with both barrels! If you get a chance to go along to an event where he’s speaking, take my word for it ……don’t miss it. And if he’s doing a book signing, track down the second one called “Open Season”, and get the complete story – it’s a pearler!

Oh… the way…..there’s also an opportunity to see Aker play, because he’s doing a ‘country league’ tour – playing the odd game for various out of town teams. He played over in Gippsland east of Melbourne for the Morwell tigers against Traralgon last weekend, and took a much talked about – yep, mostly by himself! But he does it so well! – screamer of a mark during the game.

And the big news around the Barossa is that Gawler Centrals have got Aker for one game – their home game on Saturday August 11th against our own Yalumba sponsored local heroes – the Angaston Panthers. So if you’re around – I will see you there! He’s also speking at a club function that night – book early for what I reckon will be a really interesting “double barreled shot from the hip” chat from the still in pretty good shape dyed blonde bombshell.


State of Origin II … I’m just not sure …

6.59pm, Wednesday 13th June, Murray Street, Angaston, Barossa Valley, SA

Evening, folks, and we’re 30 minutes from kickoff in tonight’s clash of the interstate rugby league titans between Queensland and New South Wales – State Of Origin II. I made the right call last game – Queensland by 8 points – and I’ve just taken my new supporter T-shirt out of the bag to get ready for the game. Thanks very much to the boys at Yorkey’s Knob Motor Boat Club up near Cairns for jutting me out with the right gear. I’m a massive Queenslander fan – particularly my favourite line breaker Billy Moore – so it’s important to have the maroon colours on tonight.


And for my prediction – I think it’s going to be tight in Sydney tonight, as putting Robbie Farah at hooker for the Blues was the best thing they’ve done in years, but I’m still going to stick with the Maroons and my boy ‘ JT’ Thurston – he’s overdue for a blinder, and the new boy up front from Souths – Dave Taylor – could be a bit of a secret weapon. OK – I’m going Queensland by 2 points!

Is this colour Fuchsia??

5.11pm, Friday 8th June, Yalumba Clocktower, Eden Valley Road, Angaston, SA

Here’s the brand new 2012 100% Yalumba Y Series Sangiovese Rose.


I’ve just opened a chilled bottle of the rose for the troops up here on the top floor and asked them what they think. Here’s the end result…….given that most of the comments revolved around the word”Yum”.

The colour – cherry, pink,strawberry and rhubarb

The aroma – raspberry (even a bit like those ‘ripe raspberry’ jubey fruit gel lollies – that’s candy if you’re in the USA), strawberries and cream (again the combination soft chewy lollies), fresh strawberries, a bit of fairy floss. Definitely lashings of aroma leaping out of the glass

The flavor – snapping natural zippy acid, strawberry cherry crossover, fruit but dry

And what food would go with it?? Proscuito and melon, sashimi, sushi – no drama with the wasabi, salt & pepper squid, Lemongrass barramundi – like they have at Star Of Siam in Adelaide, Yum Cha BBQ pork fluffy steamed buns, Chinese sweet and sour crispy beef, gazpacho soup, beef or tuna carpaccio, tapenade on bruschetta, car cakes with Chilli mayo!!

Final word?? From Larry…….she said…..”mmmmm berry good”

Up to my ears in paperwork!

4.18pm, Thursday 6th June, Yalumba Clocktower, Angaston, Eden Valley, SA

Afternoon, folks, and good morning to all our mates in the United Kingdom who go back to work this morning after the big Diamond Jubilee weekend. I’m just dropping you all a quick line to let you know that I’m back on deck at the winery, but up to my ears in all the paperwork that goes with living out there on the road!


Not particularly gifted when it comes to numbers, but here’s my system for reconciliation of credit cards and stuff – all the mechanics of keeping the wheels under the road warrior sales folks! I’m about half way through, but with any luck will be close to a finish this time tomorrow or Saturday. Then it’s done! And I can get on with the business of topping up the information tanks now that I’m home – ready to go out again in July to New Zealand, and September back to the USA and Canada.

I’ll start with trying the new 2012 Y Sangiovese Rose. Here’s a tank sample that Andy LaNauze dropped on my desk yesterday – if it tastes as good as it looks – we’re in for a magic spring and summer with this one!


See you this time tomorrow, and I’ll let you know what it tastes like. For now, back to the accounts!!

Meanwhile, in London……it’s Diamond Jubilee time!

6.23pm, Monday 4th June, Angaston , Eden Valley, South Australia

Evening folks, and good morning to all of those folks in London – it’s about 9.46am on the same day, and London will be buzzing with anticipation as the preparations for tonight’s concert at Buckingham Palace. Yesterday it was all happening on the Thames River, with the massive Queen ‘s Diamond Jubilee River Procession. After watching the whole ling live last night…..I have to admit….when it comes to pomp and pageantry… one does it quite as well as the English!! Even in the pouring rain!

I hope that our whole Negociants UK team is soaking it all up and having a top historical time – right in the middle of the whole Royal over the top moment. In honour of the occasion, I’ve polished up my only souvenir from a Jubilee celebration – the silver one back in 1977. It’s my royal ceramic – made in England – money box with the words the God Save The Queen on it! It’s only a small gesture on my part, but it’s there!


Actually, we should spare a thought for our Negociants UK team, because they will just be getting over the Diamond Jubilee party when the Olympics start to kick in. It will certainly be a challenge to operate in London for a few months, so we wish you every success with the events, the business, and the traffic! Good luck kids!

Next stop, Adelaide …

8.45am, Saturday 2nd June, Gate 23, Tullamarine airport, Melbourne, Victoria

Morning, folks, heading home today after a BIG BIG week in Melbourne, but we’re going home happy! Massive thanks to the Victorian team for 11 excellent jobs across the five days – we couldn’t have done much more to consolidate hearts and palates for the mother ship Yalumba – at all!

Thanks a huge amount for the treats, you know they work! And thanks big time for Kelvin, who was my number one babysitter – the cookies definitely work when I’m grumpy! And to Junior – new territory and some big wins – well done, Shannon in the move out to Bendigo – I can see us spending a fair bit of time out in the country!, Gordon taking over the southern turf and doing great things, let alone Rhonda “I’m not old I’m mature” Sexton – another giggle-filled run … and somehow we sold pots of wine at the same time. The 8th wonder of the world!

So now I’m going to get on one of these birds and head home. I’ll have “Downton Abbey” on the DVD player and my feet up in the recliner in five minutes flat!

Thanks Melbourne, thanks Vic team, and I’ll see ya in my dreams!