I always had this image that Australia had balmy weather all year round, but oddly, this doesn’t seem to be the case. Neighbours lied to me. Home & Away lied to me. On my arrival in Perth I was greeted with showers and rain and most of all, cold temperatures. Their coldest for years, apparently. It’s currently been raining in Sydney for about three days nearly solidly. I had to buy a jumpers and everything.
And is is why English ex-pats are referred to as Whinging Poms.
Anyway. In between the rain has been some shine and also, more to the point plenty of wine. Starting in Perth and joined by my nefarious drinking buddy Richard, we decided to take a road trip to the Margaret River wine region to take a wine tour and see the surrounding area.
The tour started quite informatively and inevitably ended up as a lash up well into the night after the official tour ended. Some things I did learn and commit to paper were:
– Because wines from Margaret River are regarded as finer, the region takes a disproportionately high share of Australia’s wine revenue, producing 4% of the volume and taking 20% of the revenue.
– The vines in the region only date back to 1967 when a doctor named Tom Cullity decided to try making wine. Quickly (by wine growing standards) it gained international recognition and in 2008 there were 138 wineries (Wikipedia)
– Australia’s wine export market has become of notable national importance in a relatively short time; it’s grew from $40m in 2002, to $3bn in 2007
– The main grape varieties grown in the region are cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, shiraz, merlot, chenin blanc and verdelho. (Wikipedia)
As part of the Bushtucker Tours outing we had a great (and much-needed) lunch of smoked kangaroo & turkey, beef and salad. Other than the Aussie meat, there was a distinct Mediterranean mezze feel to the food, which in the sunny – albeit cool – weather and pretty surroundings at Knotting Hill was great.
As well as Knotting Hill, the tour took us to the Hay Shed Hill, Tasselled Park and Grove wineries, a cheese factory and a chocolatier. The Grove had a number of sweet aperitifs including white port, limoncelo and raspberry/white chocolate and macadamia liqueurs. these were made into some great layered cocktail combinations like lemon cheesecake.
Sadly due to Australia’s silly responsible serving of alcohol laws, these had to be mixed before they served them to us.
All in all, it was a great day out and I’d recommend the Bushtucker Tours experience. I’ll be doing some more wine tours in the not-too-distant future, nearer Sydney, which along with (hopefully) some better weather offers a big ray of sunshine 🙂