Monthly Archives: September 2012

The rest of that day in Tacoma

7.07am, Friday 28th September, Downtown Seattle, WA, USA

Morning folks, let’s finish off the recap of our day in Tacoma and then I’ll get to yesterday’s sun soaked day in Seattle.

After our giant prawn adventure with Patrick and Mitchell at the Metropolitan Market in the Proctor district, our day just kept going in the same excellent fashion. We went to see Tom and Chris at Vinotique – the only wine shop and wine bar with food combination. I’ve ever seen with it’s own performance stage. Apparently on Friday nights the place is packed and the jam sessions go until way late of a night time. I think I’m free to do the tasting event on the bench that night!

On to the neat little Wildside Wine hole in the wall super shop with owner Carol running the tasting the bench, who has had our wines on for ages thanks very much…..

As have the boys at Wine Bank & Beer Vault , with the lovely Bob in charge. Let me state for the record that the folks over there in Tacoma that have anything to do with the wine game are just delightful, and I was thrilled to bits to be there! Even the salesman from another (American) wine company that was in the store tasted through the wines with us!

Then it was lunch for us… ‘the new aroma in Tacoma’……”Stink”! it’s a cheese shop with wine and food, and its fabulous. It’s in the Stadium District, which is a retro just a bit art deco area that’s hung on to the old buildings and neon, and is a really interesting neighborhood. I had one of the salami sandwiches for lunch – just have a look at how good that was!, and the owner Kris as well as Dana from the speciality food market Dave’s Meat & Produce sat in with us and tasted our bagful of wines. Highlight of the session? Kris explained how she makes her bacon jam – caramelized onions, balsamic vinegar, slow cooked with bacon into a ‘paste’ that is the ‘X factor’ in their super special grilled cheese sandwich. And……it just happens to go incredibly well with our 2010 Bushvine Grenache. It looks like we may very well find ourselves back at Stink this time next year doing an event in the new wine bar room next door! As long as we have some of Kris’s mini grilled cheese sandwiches on the menu….I’ll be there!

After lunch I fell into a bit of an “I’m just a bit tired hole” but after coffee it was over to see the boys at Pop’s Liquor Store, which has just opened recently, and they were looking for some help with some Australian wines. Good thing we could help out – thanks boys and all the best with the new store – we’ll see you in a years time for that BBQ!

And last but not definitely not least – Cafe Divino to catch up with some old mates from the trade Ty and Donna – and to see if our theory on whether crab cakes and lobster quesadillas being the perfect match for our viogniers was correct. Thanks a huge amount Jan for letting us use all your glassware, showing 12 wines over the evening, and to Trish from Noble for an excellent day out in ‘ T Town ‘………..which is definitely our type of town!!

See you all in 12 months, and in the meantime…..stay safe and thanks for having us on your shelves!









Big Day Out in Tacoma

8.18am, Thursday 27th September, looking at the Seattle Space Needle out my hotel window

Morning, folks, and as promised, the recap of our day around the traps in Tacoma – it was a biggie! We started with the boys at the Metropolitan Market in the Proctor neighborhood. Now I can hear you ask when you look at the photo – it’s just a supermarket, why bother. But see – this is the value of seeing the wine and food arena from the ground up over here – it’s not just your common garden variety supermarket, the Metro Market at Proctor is special! And our wines are looked after there by a special bloke called Patrick Emmons – Australian music trivia king! Thank heavens I’m old enough to know who The Easybeats were and could sing several verses and the chorus to “Friday on my mind!” Patrick looks after the wine department at the market, which faces the seafood section, run by our good looking yo ho ho style modern day pirate Mitchell Busick. Not surprisingly, our Y Viognier has been flying off the shelves – an easy partner for the fresh – some of it still live – seafood every day. Have a look at that photo of Patrick doing his Crocodile Dundee impersonation with the Marmite (closest thing in the store to Vegemite) and the African prawn … “That’s not a prawn … THIS is a prawn!”And that’s Mitch with the bottle alongside the prawn, just so you can see how jolly big they are … bargain at $9.99 each when the tail is nearly the size of a small lobster.






T Town is our town!

10.17pm, Wednesday 26th September, Stewart Street, Seattle, WA, USA

Evening, folks, and ‘T Town’ is how we hipsters refer to the neighborhood-strong city south of Seattle called Tacoma. We were in safe hands with our spiritual guide Trish from Noble Wines – our distributor in Washington state – and we had nothing short of a sensational day out on the streets of T Town today! We literally just got back from dinner at Cafe Divino in the Old Town section of Tacoma, and I have much to tell about our day … but my eyes are closing, so I’ll do it first thing tomorrow morning before we go to the famous Seattle landmark – Pike Place Market – for breakfast.

So I’ll leave you with ‘The Tacoma Omen’ – which was in the window of a junk shop next to where I had breakfast in Tacoma this morning – the fabulous Southern Kitchen. It just jumped out at me and said … you’re going to have a top day in this town. So it’s now sitting on the top shelf of the bar in Cafe Divino – thanks Jan! – waiting until the same time next year, where I’ve challenged our locals to try and track down the missing top of the Tacoma Omen bottle. Anyone that finds the missing ‘top of the gum tree’ gets a magnum of Signature – courtesy of my house account.

So here’s the Tacoma Omen. … our good luck charm for great Yalumba times in T Town ongoing … and check back tomorrow morning for the details of our top day out and about – thanks a huge amount Trish!

See ya when I’ve slept



Sunny Seattle!

9.34pm, Tuesday 25th September, Stewart St, Downtown Seattle, Washington State, USA

Yes, folks – the very last ‘hanging on to every bit of sunshine just before Autumn kicks in’ days here in Seattle, and we had one today! We crisscross-crossed the city, through several different neighborhoods – Madison Park, Capitol Hill, Columbia City – across bridges, past the famous Ezell’s (fried ) Chicken (Oprah’s favorite), basically winning hearts and palates for the mother ship Yalumba, left, right and centre.

I just got in from an in-store tasting at Wine World – thanks Ella and Lenny – and am picking up a rental car in the morning, heading for Tacoma for the day, so I’m just going to show you a couple of highlights from our day.

First stop – the dashing wine duo at Belle Epicurean – Howard and Frank – just have a look at the in-house pastry witchcraft thanks to pastry chef Carolyn! If you can resist the samples of mini cinnamon brioches, you’re a better person than I am! If you’re in Seattle and haven’t tried at least one thing from these glass cases … you’re missing out!

Then across to Capitol Hill to meet with Stephanie from the Coastal Kitchen – they’re up to their ears with a massive refit which will see a brand new raw bar up front with a resident oyster shucker. Nice folks, re-opening October 9th, and a top spot!

And last – the lake, and the view of the Space Needle (ex Worlds Fair 1962) from my hotel room. Brilliant day.








Seasonal Seattle – Halloween’s coming!

8.57am, Tuesday 25th September, Stewart St, Downtown Seattle, Washington State, USA

Morning, folks, and the seasons have changed!

This morning, ‘Fall’ (or Autumn in our part of the world) is definitely in the air. Good thing I’ve got my trusty Yalumba winter jacket with the high warm collar in my suitcase. And in America, that means that the start of the Festive Season is just around the corner – starting with Halloween. Now on the front label of our Y Series Cabernet Sauvignon, you’ll find a neat sketch of a traditional scarecrow – which represents the seasonal nature of the Barossa Valley, as well as the appearance of traditional scarecrows in the vineyards come March – or our main fruit ripening time. And in a Barossa Vintage Festival year – which is us in 2013 – there are scarecrows of every shape, size, colour and theme. That’s because the Scarecrow Competition has become one of the features of the event. One of my favorites is the mile high ‘keg man’ scarecrow that the boys at the AP John cooperage in Tanunda put together.

So, with this fab front label on the 2010 Y Cabernet Sauvignon, Lillian at Noble Wines – our distributor in Washington State – came up with this poster promotion in her accounts … I like it!

Now I have to fly, as I’m working out and about Seattle with Darrel this morning and James this evening – we have an in store tasting at Wine World – so I’ll see you when it’s much later on.


A traveller travels to Boeing to see all those aeroplanes

8.07am, Monday 24th September, Stewart Street, Downtown Seattle, Washington State, USA

Morning, folks, and it’s going to be a sky blue clear day up here in Seattle – September and October are truly THE best time to visit this country. Clear days, cool nights – can’t complain. I’ve just returned the rental vehicle that I used yesterday on my day off – I went up to Everett, north of Seattle – to the Boeing factory.


Because I spend a good deal of my life on aeroplanes and have come to understand the difference between Boeing and the rest! Mind you, for the small regional flights – I’m a big fan of the little Bombardier and Embraer jets! But for the major flights – I’m a Boeing girl. It might have a lot to do with what my New Zealand Air Force mates told me years ago about the extra thrust capacity on take off and braking on landing that Boeing build in – I take notice of that sort of thing! Any rate, I took the opportunity seeing as I had a day and night off yesterday after flying up from Portland on Saturday afternoon – and went on the factory tour.

Up at Everett, Boeing make three aeroplanes – the new longer but quieter and more fuel efficient version of the jumbo jet, the 747-8; the airliner that I spend a lot of time on, which is the wide body 777; and the new space age quiet, fuel efficient, and “we filter the air so you don’t get everyone else’s germs” 787 Dreamliner. Wow! You can’t take photos in the factory, but trust me, it’s an amazing thing to see planes in parts and then how they fit together. As we were waiting to start the tour, a Dreamliner took off on its test flight before being delivered to United Airlines here in the States. It’s a beautiful piece of work – compact, sleek, curved wings, and lifts up effortlessly off an extremely short run. I look forward to my first flight on one of those birds. Apparently Boeing has got so many orders for the Dreamliner that if you wanted to order one tomorrow – and had a cool couple of hundred million to spend – it would be 2019 before it would be delivered. There’s some job security for the folks at the Everett plant!

So thanks Boeing – for letting us see how you do what you do – since 1916 no less – and as their old marketing campaign said …”if it’s not Boeing – I’m not going”.

Here are some photos from my day yesterday, the factory to the left in the first picture, then the paint shop and the ‘flight line’ of jets being finished and tested before delivery to the client. The models are the three planes that I saw being made – top to bottom is the Dreamliner 787, jumbo jet 747, and the wide body airliner 777.

Then, that’s the space needle this morning in the sun at the end of my street.

I’m off to get set for the day – a presentation to the complete Noble sales team – our distributor here in Washington state.






Last scenic day in Portland, Oregon

9.42pm, Friday 21st September, SW Morrison St, Portland, Oregon, USA

Evening, folks, and I’m packing up our Oregon section – off to Seattle in Washington State tomorrow. I got in really late last night from our day in Eugene, so the rental vehicle went back today, without a scratch. I took it back via the scenic route, and happened to drive past a very interesting setup called ‘Cartlandia’. It’s a massive get together of food trucks. These food wagons, which are rolling mini restaurants in a lot of cases, are really common over here in America – especially the Mexican Taco Trucks. They’re starting to appear on the streets of Sydney and Melbourne at home – but I’ve never seen anything like this. The wagons are set up on a ‘lot’ around a central outdoor covered dining area, with a satellite sports big screen TV in the middle. I took some photos so that you could see this foodie phenomenon for yourself. Every shape, size and flavor of food wagon – just when you think you’ve seen it all … you haven’t !

Any rate, early night for me, and I’ll see you in Seattle!