Category: Vintage

McLaren Vale

I’ve made it! I’m officially in McLaren Vale, and for those of you who don’t know, I’ve come here for the opportunity of working vintage. This means that starting soon my life will be devoted to a winery for essentially every waking moment. Until of course, the grapes stop coming in, and the fermentations are complete. aboriginal

This sculpture is at the war memorial right in the middle of McLaren Vale. I thought it was very beautiful. The people I am staying with here are very nice, and I was taken on a little driving tour when I arrived to orient myself in the area.

It’s gorgeous. And very close to the beach. An added bonus.


McLaren Vale

It is illegal to take stones off the beach, something this resident clearly ignored for the sake of art. Every inch of this house is completely covered in beach stones. I found it very amusing.

rock house

Now you’ll have to excuse me- there is wine that needs tasting.

Henley Beach


Henley beach is beautiful. And quiet. It’s a bit further north from the more touristy locations, and the water is clear. It has an almost green hue to it as well. After spending time in the Barossa with my friends, consuming a notable amount of alcohol and learning about the unique wine region, I needed to chill. And the beach is the perfect place for that. Luckily, the beach culture here is so strong, that the weather is irrelevant. Even if you go on a windy, rainy day, there is still a cafe overlooking the ocean where you can sit with a nice cup of caffeine.
It was exactly what I needed.
A day with my own thoughts.

Which were actually mostly about wine. Oh well. I’m eager for vintage to start. There is something intoxicating about harvest work that is hard to explain. It’s like you turn yourself into a wine-making machine, who enjoys pressure washing metal, and lives for fermentation. Working 12+ hours a day during vintage actually seems fun, and until you’re on the other side, winding down for the season, you almost don’t realize that you never slept.
You’re a season inspired animal.

I’m ready.

Head Trained Vines

Head Trained Vines. Not a thing you really see in Washington, so now that I was in Australia, I was determined to see them. Basically, you grow your grapevine as a little tree or bush. No fancy wire action here, no sir.

head trained

It’s really a very pretty landscape to look at. However, I can’t imagine hand picking and pruning a vineyard like this one. It just seems like all the maintenance would be much more arduous than the trellis systems I’m used to seeing back home.

bush vine vineyard

Tasting in the Barossa

Our first full day in the Barossa was spent doing a little bit of tasting. First we went to Chateau Dorrien. Their building which they use as a tasting room is an old winery. All of the old tanks are still there, and they have since had an artist come in and paint murals on the tank walls depicting the history of the region.

tank mural

Along with their wine, they are the only producer in the valley to make mead. The mead is really what drew me in. There are only a handful of brands in South Australia that are fermenting the honey beverage, and I was very curious to taste.

It definitely had a more refined taste than some of the meads I’ve had in Washington. Additionally they are the only people in the world to make this:

chateau dorrien

It’s a mead liqueur flavored with quandong fruit which grows in a desserts of Australia. It was great to taste something so unique.


Stop number two was the iconic Penfolds. Their winery is massive. My friend and I were looking at how many tanks there were, and just how large the warehouses appeared.

Their tasting room was welcoming and modern, and I could hardly contain my excitement about going.


I was a very happy camper.


For the non-wine drinkers they also have a cafe which serves coffee and snacks.

And the wine- oh goodness. If you’re ever in the Barossa, you really can’t leave without tasting here. They had quite a few wines on the list to try, and they also had a side by side comparison of two Shiraz wines from different regions. I was like a kid in a candy store.

And I fell in love with the port.

So much in love that I went back to the airbnb and took a nap, dreaming about it.


Well, sometimes you go to school in a small town in Washington State, USA.

And then sometimes you meet up with some of those very same people in Angaston, South Australia.

Can you see Skylar in the tree? At 6 foot 5 it’s difficult to make him look short, but I think the tree and I made it work.

After picking him up in Glenelg, we drove to Angaston (stopping at Krispy Kreme on the way). That is where we met up with our friend Joe, who also went through the Walla Walla Enology and Viticulture program with us.


After lunch he took us to the winery where he is working for some tasting. It’s a lovely place called Lambert Estates. It was a great first stop to taste and get our bearings in the Australia wine scene. It’s so awesome how climate and soils and just the general place where the grapes are grown can have such a predominant impact on the wine. After tasting to much wine from Washington, I am super excited to try everything I can here.

Lambert Estates

Also, this tasting room was beautiful. Here’s to wishing Joe an excellent harvest.