We are in South Australia now and you can’t get more South Australian than frog cakes so we are told. Sandy (Trish’s daughter) brings some over one afternoon “cause you can’t come to South Australia and not try frog cakes ” They are very nice not a hint of frog about them.
Sandy offers to take us out to the Barossa valley for a wine tour. We have been through several of Australia’s great wine regions but motorcycle touring and wine tasting don’t really go hand in hand. Sandy acts not only as our guide but also our chauffeur so we are able to sample some vino properly.
First stop is Bethany winery a small family run outfit where we are taken on a journey from whites through to reds and finally the piece de resistance (and Sandy’s reason for bringing us here) a delicious white port. (Yes we do buy a bottle it was that good).
Next stop is the Grant Burge vineyard, it is in a beautiful building amongst immaculately landscaped grounds. The friendly ladies (pictured) take us through their portfolio including some delicious robust Barossa Reds that are so fruity its a wonder they are not lumpy. On the other end of the scale is a light summer slightly fizzy easy drinking Moscato.
At this point you might be thinking we are hanging on to the bar but you only try a tiny sip of each variety so we are still compus mentis (hic). After our tasting we explore the sculpted gardens and take some pictures before having a look at the more contemporary Jacobs Creek winery next door (the stainless steel modern looking building).
We all agree the older winery’s have much more character so Sandy takes us back via one of the the oldest in the region Seppeltsfield. This place just oozes history, it still has its own Cooper to make barrels and the whole production process is housed within the original buildings pictured. The greek looking building fringed by palms is the Seppertfield mausoleum situated so it overlooks the vineyard and the road lined with palms was a philanthropic project by the owners to avoid laying off staff during the great depression.
Sandy arrives again next day with a surprise for us, it just so happens that she is friends with one of Australia’s youngest female helicopter pilots and she has managed to arrange a flight for all of us over the valley. It is the best way to understand the topography that makers this valley so special and we are so grateful to have the chance to see it from the air. Bridget was Australia’s youngest female helicopter pilot until her younger sister pulled the rug from under her. They both fly for Barossa helicopters which is a family affair run by their mum and dad. Dad (or Goose) as he is known is an ex Vietnam chopper pilot which goes a long way to explain how the girls were both fully qualified while still in their teens. It is an awesome flight as we are able to fly fairly low over the vineyards whilst Bridget points out the features below. When we get down we bring the bike over for pictures and Goose and I get talking, it turns out he is having a chopper bike built in the United States and is keen to quiz me about the rules and regulations of exporting and carnets. We have a good chat and I am able to show him some information on the net that should hopefully help him when he brings the bike over to Australia. We saved the best photo of the bike and bird for last !
We head back to Lyndoch for lunch at the local bakery then we visit Chateau Yaldara for a tasting on the way home. This turns out to be the grandest yet and leads to an amusing misunderstanding. Just as we are finishing a gentleman wanders over to look at the bike as many do. Sandy, Karen and I get chatting to him about the bike and our trip and he is very enthusiastic about our journey. During the course of the conversation he explains he is guiding some people around the chateau and he is waiting for them to come back, we all thought he was a bus driver or courier. It’s only when the conversation is drawing to a close that he says something which makes us realise that actually he owns the place. You never know who you are talking to sometimes, especially in laid back Australia !
Next up – More of Adelaide