I used to be cynical about collecting points. I’d swipe my loyalty card thinking here you go big faceless company, here’s a bit more info about me for which I will probably never accrue enough points to get anything in return. But if it weren’t for cashing in on my frequent flights for a quick trip to South Africa back in 2009, The Wine Farm would never have come to be.
Is this a long story?
Not really. Within three months of meeting each other in Stellenbosch, where Neil was making wine and I was tasting it on the aforementioned sojourn to check out the region’s many ‘wine farms’, Neil made the momentous decision to quit his job, up sticks for Sydney and move in with me. After a few early spats over who/what was cooking and who was/was not cleaning the bathroom, we realised we were onto something and promptly tied the knot. Within a year of arriving in the city Neil had climbed as far as he was prepared to up the corporate ladder of ‘The Pet Butler’, I was ready to run for the hills and we started wondering where we might like to put down roots. Cool climate grape ones specifically.
South Gippsland beckoned.
We dipped our toes in the water, renting in the delightful seaside town of Inverloch. Neil kept his hand in by making a bit of wine from a local vineyard and his palate honed, taking mine along for the ride, importing crafty European wines, drinking them and selling anything left (see One Pallet).
In 2014, having fallen for the region in general and the potential of its grapes in particular, we took the biggest plunge so far. We poured our joint worldly effects into a small parcel of land down the road. An unassuming address we thought might just have everything we needed to start creating our own little world. Good soil, eight thousand vines, a great big shed and lots of bedrooms to fill.
The Wine Farm is where we grow the wine we want to drink and the food we want to eat. It’s where our kids get muddy, our dog can howl without upsetting the neighbours and we can breathe.