Thursday, January 26, 2017

Australia Day 2017

Australian Day commemorates the day in 1788 when the First Fleet sailed into Sydney Harbour (Port Jackson) to establish a British convict colony.
As the years have gone on, the actual day of celebration has become more controversial.
While most Australians feel positively about Australia Day, most Indigenous Australians feel that it celebrates invasion and should be changed to a new date with a different name.
A recent Guardian Australia poll found that a majority (68%) felt positive about Australia Day, 19% indifferent and 7% had mixed feelings about the event while 6% of people felt negative about Australia Day
But among Aboriginal Australians and people from the Torres Strait Islands, less than a quarter (23%) felt positive about Australia Day and 31% felt negative about it. A further 30% said they had mixed feelings about Australia Day.

When participants were invited to associate three words with Australia Day, Australians polled chose barbecue, celebration and holiday. But, for Indigenous Australians, the three most chosen words were invasion, survival and murder.
No other ex British colony (that I can find) who still has ties to Great Britain eg. Canada and New Zealand celebrates the day the British 'arrived' as their national day so there is that argument for changing the day.
What to is another quesion.
Federation? ie. 1st January.
This will be an ongoing discussion over the years just like changing the flag ie. getting rid of the British Union Jack in the corner and Australia becoming a republic ie. getting rid of the English monarchy as head of state.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The South Coast Wine Show 2017

The show is over for another year.
This was the 18th.
104 entries came from 12 wineries in the South Coast Wine Zone which includes the Shoalhaven Coast and Southern Highlands Wine regions.
The number of entries was a bit disappointing as, in the show's heyday, it was nearly double this number. But the decline has been with us for some years now. Wine shows around the country are having similar experiences.
I am aware the committee is trying to remedy this situation. One innovation that 'stopped the rot' a little last year was opening up entries to wine made in the regions from grapes sourced outside the zone.
2017 Wine Show Judges: Nick O'Leary, David Morris (Chief), Deb Pearce

However a further step of making the show open to all comers would dilute its purpose which is to showcase South Coast Wine Zone wines.
It would be sad to see the show's demise after all the hard work that has gone into it over the years.
Results Summary: 6 gold, 14 silver and 40 bronze medals were awarded, a success rate of over 50% but the high ratio of bronze was a little concerning.
The public tasting took place at the local golf club the day after the judging and was reasonably attended.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Vintage 2017 Update 2

Weather continues to be kind.
Lots of sunshine and heat. Maybe too much as some of the vines on shallower soils are showing a little bit of water stress.
No sign of disease apart from a little patchy leaf botrytis.
We have veraison in the Tempranillo and just a hint in the Pinot Noir.
Tempranillo and Pinot Noir

No sign of colour change in the Semillon (green to yellow) or Cabernet Sauvignon (green to purple) yet.
Semillon and Cabernet Sauvignon

Leaf botrytis

While working in the Cabernet block I heard a strange buzzing sound and found that bees where beginning to swarm on one of the posts.
Not something I was familiar with.
The beginnings of the swarm
So I Googled.
The first piece of advice? Leave the swarm well alone. Angry bees en mass are not safe to deal with.
In most cases the swarm moves on in one to two days. If it doesn't, contact a local apiarist who might come and collect it for their own use or, as a last resort, call a pest exterminator.
Three hours later 'our' swarm had moved on. They must have been only resting for a short while.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

2016 / That Was the Year That Was

2016 was a relatively quiet year for us.
There was no overseas travel as we used that budget to make some home improvements and do some essential property maintenance.
We had a couple of trips north to Sydney and one to the Hunter Valley in what was, for us, a very low mileage year.
The co driver officially became an Australian citizen and the daughter and her husband moved to New York to live and work.
I made it to the big seven-o.
Vintage 2016 was a bit of a disaster wine quality wise. I decided in the end not to bottle any. Sad to see a few hundred liters poured into the ground but life is too short to drink sub standard wine.
This was a result of being away at a crucial growth stage during the latter end of 2015. The resultant grapes at harvest were in poor condition so no amount of chemistry (or alchemy) could make good wine from them.
The saying "good wine starts in the vineyard" was once again proven to be true.
This time around, with a 100% care, we are expecting a much  better result for vintage 2017. Already things are looking good.

Politically, we went to the federal polls again and the incumbent government was returned with a much reduced but still a one seat majority and a hostile senate despite their cynically changing voting procedures in a effort to thwart such an occurrence. So the dithering, indecision. inertia, factional infighting and back flipping will continue for another three years. Sometimes you have to wonder about the IQ of the electorate. But then again, look what happened across the Pacific. Unbelievable!
But, despite all this, life goes on in our quiet piece of paradise on the south coast of NSW.
So 2017 sees plans already made for a USA trip and a tentative one on the drawing board for a week or so in Tasmania.
Other than that, life will be beach sitting, fishing, grape tending, yoga/meditation, quilting and farm duties.
To all my readers, have a successful, prosperous and happy New Year.