The Last Drops from Jacob’s Creek, Australia

For our final evening in the Barossa Valley, we climbed to the top.

To the Steingarten Vineyard, on the crest of the hill, overlooking Jacob’s Creek below.

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It might be chilly up there, but the view isn’t half bad!

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We popped open a bottle of Steingarten Reisling (you can’t get much more local than that!) and sipped it as the sun set.

Snapping a memory for Instagram, of course!

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We ate a bucket of oysters, fresh out of the ocean just a few miles away.

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I couldn’t help but feel a little like Hemingway…

“As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.”

A Moveable Feast

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Steingarten has an explosive history.

It’s regarded as one of the iconic vineyards of Australia. First established in 1962 after Colin Gramp (Johann Gramp’s great grandson) returned from a trip to Germany, where he had seen Riesling vines planted on steep rocky slopes.

Keen to emulate such a vineyard in the Barossa, he petitioned his family but they refused him.

 

He refused to take no for an answer and quietly arranged a friend and his tractor to meet him at the top of Trial Hill early one morning, and set about establishing his vineyard.

But the site was so steep that the tractor rolled away, and the ground was so hard and rocky that it could not be penetrated.

So Colin did what we all would have done.

He blew it up with dynamite!

Six years later in 1968 the first Steingarten Riesling wine was made and released soon after. The vineyard celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012. Due to the windy, exposed site and the frugal rocky soil the 50 year old vines look incredibly skinny and frail, but produce fruit full of personality and terroir.

The name Steingarten aptly means Stone Garden in German.

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And it happens to be the dreamiest of spots to watch the sun set!

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So here’s to Colin Gramp’s explosive ideas!

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The riesling was my favourite wine of the trip, and one I’ll certainly look out for in England.

It’s much, much less sweet than European riesling, and wonderful with seafood.

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Especially under a cotton candy sky, waiting for the stars to appear.

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The next morning we woke at the crack of dawn.

So set up a little breakfast barrel in the herb garden.

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We ate the flakey pastries, washed down with hot tea and listened to the birds call to each other as the sun came over the hill.

Then it was time for a tour of the vines.

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Joined by a few locals!

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We visited the Barossa sculpture park.

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And drove on through into Eden Valley.

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I have to say I was really taken aback by the sheer scale of Australia.

The place is endless.

And so, so beautiful.

The countryside is unlike anything I’ve seen. It seems to combine all of the best bits of Europe into one view; rolling green hills, shimmering eucalyptus trees, dusty tracks & flourishing vines, with the occasional kangaroo and chuckling kookaburra thrown in for good measure!

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We met a number of wildly efficient vine keepers, busy pruning the harvested vines.

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They work their way through each vine within seconds, leaving flying branches in their wake.

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All that’s left behind is a cut back skeleton, ready to burst into action come next Spring.

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Just around the corner we ran into a whole court of kangaroos!

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We stopped to say g’day.

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Before hopping off for the next leg of our Australian adventure.

This is my last post in collaboration with Jacob’s Creek, as part of the Made By experience. I hope you enjoyed following along with me!

It’s been a hoot to share it with you, and I can’t wait for the next chapter to begin…

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