ISLAND TO MAINLAND TRIP
Making Kangaroo Island wine while based on the mainland is pretty tough to be honest. It’s a fair way to travel to our vineyard, 3.5 hours from the winery to be exact, made all the more difficult with a ferry trip thrown in the mix. Wouldn’t be an island without it though, and I don’t mind a coffee and an email catch up session on the way actually. The Sealink boat is my office.
Vineyard spray days are the hardest. A 4am wake up for a 6am ferry to the Island, with a boat home at 4:30pm to get back to help with the kid’s bath and bedtime chaos.
It’s tough when something breaks down out there too. Bush mechanics are the only option you have before throwing in the towel and calling someone who has the skills. Then you plan another trip because they can’t get there for a few weeks or so. It all takes time.
The working days are always full-on because you feel like you’re racing the clock, or when picking, a race against the truck arriving to pick up the fruit.
The truck is your cut off so you wait until you hear it coming down the road and hope that you calculated it all well enough. Offer the truckie a middie to stall them while the crew tops another bin of fruit up. It’s about $100 a bin in transport and the same to get an empty bin back to the vineyard, so that’s a pretty valuable middie.
Then you race the truck back to the winery, unload the fruit and get it done. If one thing changes there is always about 10 phone calls to make, and a few apologies. Everyone involved has learnt the nature of an Island harvest and the logistics behind making Island wine. My apologies are pretty hollow and they know it.
Anyway, enough about the challenges… The Island is amazing for growing premium quality grapes. And our site in particular is perfect. I love pulling into the vineyard and seeing what has changed or grown, or whether the nets are still sealed up or if the irrigation is going to work first go, or if the tractor is going to start or the million year old forklift is going to lift.
It’s all good fun and the challenges are a massive part of it. The nights drinking wine in the shed with good crew make it all worth it, especially when you’re drinking something that came from just 50 meters away and you grew it. It’s satisfying and we are slowly but surely seeing the results of all the hard work.
Ah, and sleeping in the swag out in the open is also bloody good. Island air is the freshest.
I’ve always believed in this region and it’s ability to grow grapes. Our site has its challenges, as does any viticulture anywhere, but most of ours are logistical more so than the actual growing.
They say “it’s more about the journey than the destination”. In our case it’s the destination that makes the journey seem alright. It all (the journey and the destination) keeps life pretty busy and exciting and that’s a nice way to be I reckon. The satisfaction of people enjoying a glass of your wine is a feeling that’s hard to explain.