Wine-ing Around the Holidays

12 12 2010

Items I have learned today:

-Apparently the Australian version of caroling involves a huge group of people (supposedly thousands) meeting in a park, bringing food and singing out loud together.  It sounds kind of  kumbaya- ish to me.. but meh? To each his own I guess.

Heaps = a lot of.

So it’s official.  I finally went through a little batch of  homesickness.  I mean, nothing bad by any means… but still.  It apparently snowed in Seattle last week (something that RARELY happens and when it does, it’s really exciting). The city pretty much shuts down, and everyone gets the day off work to play (unless of course you happened to work at the Seattle Times in which case you got a whole two hours… whoo).  Anyway, the point is that it’s fabulous, and it snowed at home on Thanksgiving.  It was then that I realized that I was sad to be missing out on it.  I mean don’t get my wrong, I am still totally and completely in love with Melbourne… but there are times when I wish I could be in two places at once.

It continues to feel strange to have it be the Christmas/Holiday season over here. I mean look at the city’s Christmas tree!  It looks more like something at an amusement park!

It's pretty.. but it looks like plastic

It's pretty.. but it looks like plastic

The Christmas commercials are amusing too, in no way shape or form is snow reflected at all.  Or Santa for that matter.   They usually just focus on presents and smiles.

A friend of a friend organised a Yarra valley wine tour last Saturday.  Not being much of a wine drinker, I figured why not?  I honestly can not taste the difference between a 200 bottle and a franzia (the 10 dollar boxed wine they sell back at home).  I obviously have a VERY sophisticated palate.  We were picked up at 9:30am in the city and then off to a day of tasting wines at 4 different wineries.

Yarra Valley Wine Tour

Yarra Valley Wine Tour

Our driver was named Sunny, and our tour guide was named Jane.  Our first stop was at Helen’s Hills. It was here that I learned that you should smell the wine before you taste. An amazing concept I know, because apparently the smell of something affects the taste. Whatever. Anyway. I was also confused when the first “taste” came out.  The woman that worked there said something like “on the first sip you swirl it around your mouth and get  all of the colgate/wherever is in your mouth cleared out.”  So I was thinking that it was mouthwash, and “skulled” (slamed/drank all at once) it.  Um, yeah. It was definitely wine.  The woman smirked and then moved on and said “Now, on the second sip…” at which point I sighed.. and pretended to have a sip of air.

moi

moi

Alaina and I

Alaina and I

Winery number two was called punt road.  Jane (our tour guide) loved it because it was owned and operated by a female.   The winery was originally based on one of the busiest roads in Melbourne in the 1850’s, has since then relocated but kept the name.

Winery number three was my personal favorite.  It was called Yileena Park.  I loved this one because it was a smaller winery, so we were literally being served and helped by the woman that owned it. You could tell how passionate she was about her winery. She also had pictures and told us stories of the big huge Black Saturday bushfires that occurred in 2009.  Yileena Park has an underground irrigation system, so because of that (and luck in a wind change) the fire actually went right past their property.  She said that all of the surrounding houses/property near her burned to the ground, and that she knew 12 people that had lost their lives.  Apparently this fire resulted in the highest loss of life due to a bush fire, with 113 people killed, and it displaced 7,562 people. It was incredibly sad to hear about, yet amazing that this particular winery had been spared.  The amount of energy released during the firestorm was equivalent to the amount of energy released by 1,500 Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs. Nuts huh!

Learning about Black Saturday at Yileena Park

Learning about Black Saturday at Yileena Park

Yileena Park - the pictures on the table were of the fire

Yileena Park - the pictures on the table were of the fire

The last stop of the day was Stick’s winery.  It was here that we took several group shots, of which I think one came out.  Please ignore the fact that the picture is off center.  Jane was a great host, but obviously not the worlds best photographer

 

Group Photo

Group Photo

The views

The views

 

After that it was back to the city.  All in all it was a good day, full of pretending like I actually knew something about wine.  I think the swirling it and then smelling/followed by announcing what you thought it smelled/tasted like was the most amusing part.  I became a big fan of saying that it reminded me of fermented grapes… witty I know.

The only other thing of note is that Oprah is here now.  She made a 15 minute appearance in fed square on friday.  People apparently spent the night Thursday night… to see her for 15 minutes! Ridic.  She will be taping two shows in Sydney this week.  They had a raffle to decide who would actually get tickets.. she’s taping at the opera house (the capacity is like 6000 or something like that).  I mean, I know Oprah is big and all at home.. but dang!

Anyways..  that’s all for now.

I think I’m off to Torquay/Lorne (one of the stops on the great ocean road) next weekend for a girls trip.. and then its off to Sydney for New Years, so there are quite a few things coming up.  Now, hopefully I can figure out something fun to do for Christmas.  That really is going to be strange, not being able to spend Christmas at home.

Oh well… C’est la vie.

Until next time..


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