It’s usual at around this time of the year that I make a break for it! Following on from the crazy festive period, I take the opportunity to leave Jersey and get as far away as possible. The last couple of years have included Asia and the Canary Islands, so wanting to head a little further afield I booked a ticket to Australia.
My brother lives there which is always a bonus… a place called Cronulla, an hour on the commuter train south of Sydney. It’s always fun to spend “some” time with my brother. Sydney beaches, bars, national parks and the Opera House will keep you occupied for a short amount of time and aside from those in Hunter Valley, vineyards are few and far between on the east coast of Australia. Surely, if I’m planning to head on down to Australia I need to take the opportunity to visit some of our producers ‘down-under’. So, as you read this newsletter I’m on a plane to Melbourne, emotionally involved in a film, inflight food all fuelled by a little gin!
Just south of Melbourne lies an isolated, undulating and lush peninsula, home to a solid number of small wineries producing mainly Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. There are a number of old school Italians who will spin the Pinot Grigio brand, frustratingly so, as the Gris on the Peninsula is nothing like the Pinot Grigio produced in the North East Italy. I suppose their absolute stubbornness never to change is endearing! Anyway, it was here that I started a life in wine 6 years ago, almost exactly to the date, working on Main Ridge for the 2011 harvest… so it is here that I will start my trip.
The Mornington Peninsula, with its cool maritime climate, produces some cracking wine. Hopefully, with the help of my old winemaking tutor and pal Pete McLean, I shall be reporting back on the current life and times of the Peninsula. I’ll be passing the next five days in a bungalow overlooking the Polperro Wine Estate (www.polperrowines.com.au/)… tough times. For the size of the area, the Peninsula has a lot of viticulture packed in to it. With limited land available for vines, prices are high, which unfortunately is translated into the wines end price. That said you get the quality you pay for… mostly. Wine tourism is a huge thing down there. With Melbourne only an hour away it’s the perfect spot to trip down to for the weekend, much like the Hamptons to NYC. Many of the wineries have stylish cellar-doors where you can taste and purchase the wines overlooking the vineyards, enhanced by the quality of the cuisine, which you would only expect to find in some of the best restaurants. It’s going to be a real treat starting my holiday here.
With five days to be spent surrounded by lush vines and Eucalyptus, being drip-fed premium cool climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay I have a feeling I’ll be ready to move onto the next leg of my trip, or not. Nevertheless I have booked an internal flight up to Adelaide and persuaded my brother to join me. After all, South Australia is definitely a little more Australian than the cosmopolitan Melbourne, and Henry has developed a rather convincing Aussie twang over the 10 years he has lived in Sydney. He can be my translator…
Surrounding Adelaide are some of Australia’s best-recognised wine regions, supporting some of Australia’s greatest wine producing names. From Barossa Valley to McLaren Vale and Penfolds to Yalumba, South Australia should pack a real punch. We have a four day road trip planned; Yalumba (www.yalumba.com), Geoff Merrill (www.geoffmerrillwines.com.au) & Tappanappa (www.tapanappa.com.au) are a few names we have arranged to see, not to mention a new craft brewery on our radar called Pirate Life: http://piratelife.com.au/.
I’ve not been to Southern Australia before and with our portfolio being strong in this area I hope I can bring a little of this beautiful area into your home and give you an almost tangible experience behind some of the wines we sell.
A very exciting couple of weeks ahead all finished by a non wine week with my bro on the east coast.
Whilst I can’t give you a full itinerary right now I will do my best to keep you all up to date during my trip via Instagram @lovewineje, there will be further updates on Facebook also @lovewine.je.
Have a great February. If you have any recommendations throughout the trip please keep me updated and get interactive on our social media.