February 23, 2006

while it's still summer

With the summer slowly moving towards its end, vineyards are gradually getting ready for harvest while people still enjoy long daytime, warm weather and outdoor events, like a local wine-tasting festival we went to last weekend:

We started off with one winery for our first glass of the day and light lunch early afternoon on Saturday

Tried a couple of reds then chose one by glass, grabbed some food and got outside for a shady spot

Sausage with potatoes and bread with dips to share

There's nothing quite like enjoying wine while it's still bright, under the blue sky on a warm day like this.

Heading off to the next one:

This winery didn't participate in this particular event, but nevertheless offered wine-tasting opportunities; we tried all the wines on the list, starting with a sparkling wine, four whites, a rose, four reds, and a dessert wine, which I especially liked.

As this one wasn't part of the festival, it wasn't as busy as others there, making the whole atmosphere nice and relaxing.

Off we went to the next:

This one did take part in the event, and was busy -

Actually, they said there're always a crowd here as this is a relatively large, well-known winery.

As we were watching them produce wines, they gave us a cluster of wine grapes; this case it was Chardonnay. It was my first time eating fresh Chardonnay grapes, and they tasted pretty good, pleasantly sweet and tart.

Got outside and bought some bubbly

Sat down and relax in the shade

While looking over their vineyards

Lots of places had rose trees at the end of each raw of grape trees; white roses may represent white wine grapes, and red roses for red wine grapes - isn't that pretty?

Now we've finished both the wine and grapes, it was about time to call it a day before we got too tired-

Eh, they've got an idea, actually.

We thought we'd had quite some wine today, then -

Had some more with dinner at home, alongside some good bread, cheeses, and fruit spreads. Yum.

Day two: it was cloudy with some showers early on, but eventually clearing up

We started a little earlier this time, and when we got the day's first winery, there were already a lot of people there, drinking wines...

But our primary purpose there wasn't the winery itself but farmer's market held in the premise of the winery

There were a lot fewer shops there on that day, but I was thrilled just to walk around and check out what they had, sampling jellys here and fudges there...

And a sip of local beer. Why not?

As we all found this place too busy and loud, we decided to move on to a next winery - again, one that wasn't participating in the festival, but one of better ones around.

Here we again tasted all the wines on the list (a bubbly, four whites, a rose, and five reds), plus a 10-dollar sampling set of four premium wines including a white, two reds, and a dessert wine, all of which we found were too good to spit out; the dessert wine particularly was excellent

So much so I ended up leaving the place with a bottle of it. A little drunk, possibly.

Still, we tasted some more at the next winery

And actually bought a glass of wine for lunch

A bubbly again; I can never get tired of one

As we sat and relaxed, a puppy came and sat with us

By this time we had already had quite some wine and figured it was time to take a little break before even moving, especially for the driver, among others. So I took a little walk around in the winery, enjoying the pretty scenery

Roses again - this time one with a lovely smell as well as name

This must have been my first time seeing wine grapes on the tree so close

Even if some were behind a fence.

If by this point you are wondering what the hell I am talking about in the middle of winter, you have a point, except that it really was - and still is - actually summer where I am; I am posting this from warm and sunny Australia, escaping from cold and rainy Tokyo this past weekend. And the event we checked out was called Yarra Valley Grape Grazing Festival, participated by dozens of local wineries, most of which accept walk-in visitors on many weekends but some were open to public for this event only. It was only my second time doing on-site wine tasting, and I had a lot of fun; wines were generally good, food acceptable, atmosphere nice, and weather just gorgeous. My very first weekend down under couldn't have been better, and I am hoping to visit some more of local wineries for wine-tasting in the coming weekends, while there will be more food-related events to come, as well.


Anonymous said...

That sounds absolutely gorgeous! I've always wanted to go wine tasting in Oregon, my home state, but haven't been there enough since high school. Perhaps on my short trip next week?

Posted by Hanna

Anonymous said...

i thought the light looked like good clear aussie sun! hope you enjoyed your time here. i LOVE your photos thru out all of your blog. 

Posted by e

sooishi said...

it seems to be a beautiful & Shiny day!
And it's so cold in my place, i'im in switzerland...
I can't wait for summer!
Thanks for those lovely pictures!

Posted by ooishigal

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous pictures - that was time clearly well spent!

By the way, what kind of camera are you using? the images are unbelievable. You have a great eye, too.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely Australian dream's like being right there when I see the photos.  

Posted by Gail

Anonymous said...

Hi there, thanks for your comments! Pleasure to share some of the great moments I have had here with you!

Jen - I use a dSLR, which I find helps a lot to make my photos better. 

Posted by chika