Monday, January 2, 2012

Wine at our door step

We resided in Newcastle, NSW (Australia) for 4 years, and  I am pretty sure this is when I acquired my love for wine.  Actually, maybe 'appreciation' is more appropriate, I think the 'love' happened way before then? The most notable of Australia's wine regions, the Hunter Valley, was 40 minutes drive from our house so it was frequented often as it was the number one place to go when we had visitors, or if the weather was sunny... or windy... or rainy.

Ugly Duckling Winery
And since we are also hoping for some visitors when we are in Perth, (oh, and because Perth also has weather that will have nothing to do with the fact that we like wineries), it only makes sense that we become familiar with the Swan Valley region.  25 minutes away.  Good start!

Grapes at John Kosovich winery

Husband making sure he gets his money worth
Swan Valley is charming and is filled with many boutique breweries. Among the big international players, such as Houghton and Sandalford, are many smaller wineries – places where the people who make the wine are the ones who greet and serve you at the cellar door. Ugly Duckling, John Kosovich and Harris Organic were in our favourites, so much so, that wine was purchased in each.  In all truthfulness, entering a winery is sort of like going to a Tupperware party; you know that you do not have to buy anything, but you always feel obliged to.  I guess most of their money is made out of customer guilt.  Bright side; I am leaving with a nice bottle of wine, not a beetroot strainer.

Organic wine, (for those health conscious consumers)?
We stopped at Houghton for a lovely lunch and a bottle of wine and enjoyed the ambiance eating under the vines and looking out to the parkland on site.  Houghton has been producing wine for 175 years. That is 50 years after Australia was founded.  I gather this is where Australian drinking culture began to take form.

Children have apple juice, we have grape juice

Nice to be with family

Well worth the wait
Swan Valley is reliable for a warm and dry climate, and in turn it is renowned for providing some of the country’s best Verdelho, Shiraz and Cabernet varieties.  A little secret, I did not even know this region existed because all you here about in Perth is Margaret River, (which is still on my to do list). Swan Valley is now on my 'to do again' list.


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