February 14, 2009
The vine: sign of life
This post is dedicated to Victor and Sheryl from “across the road” as we say in Australia. They are our neighbours, neighbours we did not know until very recently. Well, not that we would personally know them as yet. But Victor and Sheryl and a bunch of fire-fighters we have to thank that our house in Two Hills Road is still standing. Victor and Sheryl defended it against the flames. Without them, it would have been cinder, and ashes. From the bottom of my heart I would like to thank you for saving this little shed of ours.
How do I know this? Well. Michael, my brother-in-law went up this morning and called us from the vineyard phone. The fire came about within one meter to the back of the house. If the gas bottle there would have caught fire, the shed would be history and with it all our belongings. Not that there is much valuable stuff in the house, but all the photos of the kids early childhood and other small pieces with huge emotional baggage attached to it.
It seems that the fire cam from the bush at Katy’s Creek, from the back of our block and from there burned its way through to the front of the property. Michael says the whole place is blacked out now. Our neighbour Ken’s hay shed and the pine trees on the hill are gone; so is his machinery shed, but his house is standing as well.
After the opening of the road, residents are returning to their properties. Emotions are raw, people are grieving. After more than a week of constant alert, attention, listening to the radio about the latest news, rumours, terrible life stories, witness reports, pictures of burning bush on TV and in a near or closer distance, smoke and haze people are just exhausted.
Thanks again to Victor and Sheryl and the firemen and all our friends down under keeping us informed and also our many other friends worldwide inquiring about our safety during the last couple of days.
We were lucky in Two Hills Road it seems. No life and no property lost what a stark contrast to Kinglake and Marysville. We will be returning to Glenburn only at the end of June. We will clean up, plan new trees and bring order to the place once again. Hope we see you one day. Welcome to Glenburn.
January 10, 2007
Today I want to take you to a small place in Central Victoria Glenburn, between Yarra Glen and Yea, about one hour northeast of the capital city of Melbourne. From there we drive about 5 km up north and turn right into Two Hills Road, a gravel road which will lead us to our vineyard.
Our vineyard facing north
It’s all grazing land here surrounded by gum forests of the national park. Most residents are retirees; many are weekenders. The vineyard is located on the right hand side on a 50 acres block (about 21 ha). It consists of about 1 ha Sauvignon Blanc (planted in 1996), 1 ha of Pinot Noir (planted in 2002) and 1.3 ha of Merlot (planted in 1997). The rest of the land is grassland with some small patches of gum trees and a small forest. A small river, Katy’s Creek, builds the boundary on one side.
Two Hills Vineyard towards our second dam
In 2001 we had our first vintage. Our Sauvignon Blanc of 2002 even won us a bronze medal at the Singapore Wine Show.The wines are available in Melbourne at the Old England Hotel in Heidelberg (bottle shop; www.oldenglandhotel.com.au), at the Berry Cafe in Dixons Creek (on the way from Yarra Glen to Yea) and in the Alexandra supermarket chain. In Germany my friend Dr Ulrich Hillejan (Gesellschaft fuer Unternehmensentwicklung mbH, www.s-h-r.de) sells our Merlot to other friends and family. At the moment we have only Merlot 2004 for sale. All the other wines have sold out which is of course good news for the producer and bad news for the consumer. 2006 was our most successful year so far. We had a good harvest (after a complete loss in 2005 due to adverse weather conditions), sold all our grapes, and most of our wines. The 2006 vintage of Merlot is ripening in French and American oak and will be bottled in March 2007.
We are selling most of the fruit to other wineries. Living abroad is not very conducive to wine marketing. Another friend, Steve Sadlier of Vineadvice from Yarra Glen, takes care of the vineyard management. He is our viticulturist. Our wines are made by another friend, Alan Johns, owner and winemaker of Yering Farm Wines (please visit their website at: www.yeringfarm.com.au).
The wine region is called the Upper Goulburn Wine Region Victoria (formerly Central Victorian High Country) and is promoted by various organisations among them the Upper Goulburn Winegrowers Association of which we are also a member (please visit their website: www.uppergoulburnwine.org.au). I took the map from this website. Unfortunately, it’s not up to date (we are not yet listed as members for instance) but it gives some idea of the location.