Heave away, heave away
Oh heave away, you ruler king,
We’re bound for South Australia
Good morning sports fans from Adelaide.
If you’re in the South Australian capital for the second Ashes cricket test between the Aussies and the Poms (sorry, the English), then bring your umbrella, thermals and whisky flasks. It’s blowing up a storm more befitting Newfoundland on a mid-winter’s day and prospects for play today look about as bleak as the view from my 12th floor room at the splendid Stamford Hotel & Resorts in the beach suburb of Glenelg.
I set up the interim Moodie Report Bureau here yesterday after a flight from Heathrow to Hong Kong to Sydney to Adelaide, after which I was about as befuddled as an English opening batsman struck by a Mitchell Johnson bouncer on the helmet. I’d left on Monday night and before you could say ‘Michael Clarke can be a bit over the top with his sledging’ it was Wednesday afternoon. No wonder the Aussies have such a ‘can do’ attitude, they’ve got a day’s jump on everyone (except the even smarter Kiwis but that’s another story).
[A warm Aussie welcome to the 'Poms' at Sydney Airport]
Bleak heck! The compensation for the awful squawl outside is the most wonderful rainbow (above) I have ever seen, which has just formed in brilliant technicolour symmetry right outside my window over a huge expanse of wild, windswept Pacific waves.
They say, of course, there is a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow but I wouldn’t go checking out this one – you’re more likely to find a Great White shark, for as ‘Shark Week’ on the Discovery Channel here keeps reminding viewers (as do the Sydney Airport trolleys), this country is an epicentre of shark attacks. I watched a few crazy surfers yesterday braving gray and murky waters (ideal conditions for attacks) while I was looking out for dorsal fins in my bath, having learned on Discovery that they can now swim inland through fresh water. You can’t be too careful.
However, I digress. I am neither here to watch cricket nor go shark hunting. As mentioned in my earlier Blog, I am the guest of Treasury Wine Estates, who are mounting a tremendous, concerted push into travel retail with a portfolio of world-class wines from various countries. None is more illustrious than Penfolds (led by its fabulous flagship, Grange Hermitage).
[The video below, taken by 'Moodie Live' in Cannes, shows me getting a sneak preview of Grange at the Cannes show in October.]
Today, with Commercial Director Tom King I’ll be visiting Penfolds Magill Estate, about 45 minutes from here, and the original home of both winemaker and Grange. We’re then taking the 75 minute drive to the Kalimna vineyards in Nurioopta, the commercial centre of the famed Barossa Valley.
[Wine country: The excellent Qantas lounge at Sydney's domestic terminal allows you to sample great wines such as Grange]
Next and final stop (after a tasting or two, of course, and lunch) is the renowned Block 42, home to the wine of the same name, made from grapes from what are said to be the oldest, constantly producing Cabernet vines in the world. Most of the wines we’ll view today are reds, but Penfolds in keeping with Aussie tradition, also has some Great Whites I’m sure… no doubt with plenty of bite.
Then it’s back to Sydney in time for an early start tomorrow and a big Penfolds event at Sydney Airport. More of that in my next Blog, which will be written high above Australia en route to Macau for this weekend’s Masters of Time by DFS.
With great assignments like this, what’s there not to like about this job? So hey, I did find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow after all.
[P.S Sports fans, the weather is clearing. The next rumble you may hear is Mitchell Johnson thundering in to destroy the English batting line-up. Mind you, we are in South Australia remember. Given all these sharks, it might just be a day for Steven Finn.]
[Penfolds on display at the Nuance-owned SYD Arrivals duty free shop at Sydney Airport]