Richard's 2007 Australian Trip

Wine Tour
18 September 2007

Train By today I was starting to get used to the time zone.  I had to check out of the hotel in the morning and the ferry to Tasmania didn't leave until the evening so I decided to go on a winery tour of the Yarra River Valley.

Some of the people on the tour started off by taking a train ride on the Puffing Billy steam train through some of the rain forest just southeast of Melbourne.  We met them as the train was pulling into the Menzies Creek station.
Fields Once we started the actual bus tour we got to see lots of fields like this full of grape vines.  Also, much like the tour I did in the Sonoma Valley, there were also lots of olive groves around.
Fields There was also a fair amount of livestock farming being done.  There were also lots of flower farms around, but it being early spring just about all that was in bloom were daffodils.
Fields Lots of gorgeous sights like this, looking down the valley back toward Melbourne.
Fields Of course, will lots of vistas like the one above, there will be no surprise that there a few like this as well.  This is a new subdivision bust being finished off.
Barrels These are barrels being stored outside Ferguson’s Winery, where we also had a lovely roast beef lunch.
Vine The buds on the vines are just starting to grow.  This will eventually become two groups of grapes, and then some Chardonnay.
Winery This is the entrance to the Domaine Chandon winery.  They specialize in sparkling wines and are owned by the Louis Vuitton group.  The wines were quite good, and bought a couple of bottles to bring back home.  Thankfully they made it through customs with the others that I purchased (yes I declared them all), and through the Air Canada baggage handlers, who did manage to break one other bottle in the extra two days they had my luggage on the return trip.
Old Wine Press
Here is an example of an old style wine press used in the days before automation, (but after the days when they would get in and stomp on them with their feet).
New Wine Press
And today's version.  The big stainless steel drum gets loaded with grapes and then a mechanism on the inside presses the grapes against the wall of the drum.
Tasters After three wineries, and a few glasses of different types of wine, here was the international group of tasters getting ready to head for home.  From left to right, representing Britain, Germany, and Canada.
Spirit of Tasmania
After a full day of wine tasting it was off to the ferry, Spirit of Tasmania II, for the overnight ferry from Melbourne, Victoria, to Devonport, Tasmania via the Bass Straight.  The cabin, at least for me, was luxurious.  Back in my days as a Naval Cadet and Sub-Lieutenant a cabin this size would have fit six of us, and we wouldn't have had the private head and wash places.
Spirit of Tasmania
The crossing is about 220 NM (410 km) and takes all night.  There is a day crossing during the peak summer season, but that wasn't an issue for me.  Because it was a night crossing, there wasn't much to take pictures of.