I'm off to Australia Mate

I love wine. Everything about it. Hedonism at its best, and in my case it comes with an income.

Since 2005 I've been helping Craig Jaffurs and Jaffurs Wine Cellars make some of the best syrah and Rhone varietal wines in California. My four vintages at Jaffurs have intensified and focused my passion for elegant, complex, and powerful wines.

Wine is an experience. Every bottle is a story in itself. Each a piece of history. A special wine will deliver ultimate nostalgia. And when the cork goes "pop," the story continues.

Last week had a tremendous number of send-off "pops". And now, in just a few hours I will hop on a plane, fly halfway around the world, and kick off my Australian winemaking adventure.

Seasons in the southern hemisphere are opposite of ours, and right now their grapes are ripening, developing maturity, nearly ready to pick, and calling my name. In Australia shiraz is king, and South Australia's Barossa Valley is home to the most prestigious shiraz producers in the southern hemisphere.

The Two Hands Winery is one of Barossa's most highly regarded boutique wineries, and next week I'll begin my cellar hand position as part of the Two Hands 2009 vintage harvest crew. I'll be crushing/destemming fruit, managing fermentations, pressing, filling barrels, doing lots of cleaning, and any other odd job the winery can get an American intern to do.

I expect to gain much from this experience. The educational benefit this trip presents is immense, and the exposure to different production styles and techniques is invaluable and an important part of developing a personal approach to winemaking. There will be long days, and hard work. But I'm counting on having a rockin' good time. Having never been down unda, I've heard nothing but positive and enthusiastic stories from those who have. Australian's are easy going, friendly, and fun.

While most of my time will be spent slaving away at the winery, I'll be traveling as much as possible, visiting wineries and other beautiful places.

As tough as it is to leave Santa Barbara on this warm, winter day, I'm eager to head out and have the time of my life. And anyways, SB's the best place on the planet to come home to. So come June I'm looking forward to sharing some good stories, with good friends, with good wine, naturally.

Below pic: Sitting above the Jaffurs 2008 Petite Sirah, getting my last taste of Santa Barbara winemaking before my flight the next day.
Right to left: Craig Jaffurs, Dave Yates, Matt Brady, Chris Broomell

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