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This time last year  (June 2022) I was getting ready to head over to South Australia to visit my friend (at this time we never met but have been working together for 3 years) and colleague Dr Dylan Grigg. I have been doing loads of work in GIS terroir studies for Dylan in South Australia and Tasmania, and it was time to actually go and see the sites we’ve mapped.

Ive never been to Australia. I have a few friends living there. I know a little bit about a little bit but otherwise it was the unknown. I flew out the morning of the 16th June, a day after my daughter’s 1st birthday.

The flights were extremely long, and its been years since I travelled – 2014 to be precise! First flight was to Johannesburg, then Singapore, then Melbourne and then Adelaide. I arrived around 20:00 on the 17th. 34 hours later.

Dylan picked me up and we went for a quick burger – I was toast.  I cant sleep on airplanes so I had to drink wine and beer the whole time to keep me busy. Not too bad for the first 10 hours…

The Grigg family took me in like their own. I felt really at home and the kids were just great.

The next day we just went to soccer with the kids, checked out the beach and chilled. The next morning it was go-time. Off to Tasmania.

We left for the airport early in the morning of the 19th of June. Adelaide to Melbourne, Melbourne to Hobard. Hopped in a rental and off we were to our first visit.

I was starting to feel a bit flu-ish, and still had jetlag, but we were there for only 2 days so I sucked it up and marched on. Dylan wanted to show me a very cool new vineyard. It is the vineyard of Alisdair Tulloch from the Hunter Valley. Located close to Glen Huon.

This vineyard is insane. I would love to go and visit again and taste the wines. Alisdair, if you are reading this, send me some new pics and info on the vines and wines. Would love to do a post just about that vineyard.

Next, we headed to another vineyard close to Cygnet. It belongs to Mac Forbes from the Yarra valley – a great friend of Dylan. Mac, I dont see this vineyard site on your website, hope it wasn’t a secret!

Again, insanely beautiful scenery, but I can see that it is tough to farm here. It was the beginning of winter and the soils where already waterlogged. I asked Dylan a million questions on drainage, soil preparation, rootstocks, planting density, trellis system, row direction – you name it! It was my first taste that this is not South Africa. And I will see this throughout our trip. Things are way more expensive here. Way less available labour (without breaking the bank!) and way less big farmers with big equipment, especially in the areas we were.

All in all it was a great day. I struggled to take everything in. I was severely jet lagged, started getting a fever and just felt so tired. And on top of it all it my mind sees spatially, so wrapping my mind around all this, even though I have mapped a few sites here, was really a lot.

That evening Mac came through to drink a few beers with us. I told Dylan to keep me afloat with beers… It did the job. Next time I’m in Aus I would like to visit you in the Yarra Valley Mac.

Now we had to drive to the Northern part of the island (almost 3 hours if I’m not mistaken). On our way there things started to go downhill for me. My fever was getting worse and I could feel I was in a bad spot when Dylan told me “Mate you look like shit”…:)

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