We are off to the next wine tasting region today…an area renowned for its port called, Rutherglen. We are staying at a bed & breakfast tonight on a vineyard which should be fun, but first we are stopping at multiple wineries. Our first winery of the region was Buller (www.bullerwines.com.au). Luckily, the winemaker himself was in the tasting room pouring his wine. We had fun chatting with him about the various local varietals that we had never heard of and tasting his rare Tokay which was given 100 points by Robert Parker. It was definitely tasty but also had a big price-tag…it was our first time tasting a wine rated that high. We bought one of his other bottles and had him give us a wine map with places circled he thought were the best in town.
Our next stop was Campbells Winery (www.campbellswines.com.au) , established in 1870. They had many types of wines to taste and we had fun comparing and taking notes as to which ones we preferred. The tasting room itself was classy and it was fun to see all the 100s of barrels stacked on top of each other full of aging wine. Our favorite red was the “Brother’s Shiraz” but we bought their Chardonnay which was a bit out of character for us. We rarely like whites but this one was so amazingly good. It had the perfect balance of a buttery oak with a smooth finish.
Continuing down the wine trail, we came across All Saints (www.prbwines.com.au). The winery itself was on a beautiful piece of property with tall green trees making a perfect tunnel lining the street. There were tons of vines in all directions and a huge brick building in the center. We had a nice time with the partially retired man inside who obviously had a passion for wine. He had us taste the wine and talked about the differences in each. We really liked the Tokay but it was a bit on the expensive side so we opted for a bottle of our favorite red and were on our way.
We had been to quite a few wineries and tasted quite a lot of wine so decided it was time to find our B&B, The Still House (www.terravinia.com.au). After driving past it on a country road only once, we found the driveway and arrived at the large house amongst the vines and garden. The winemaker and his wife welcomed us and invited us into their home to have a chat and taste some of their wine. The couple was very nice and their home dated back to 1896. The kitchen area we were sitting in was made of brick and still had the original fire burning oven built into the wall. They explained that they only grow the grapes to give to larger producers to make wine, but that they keep a small amount of bottles made with only their grapes to last them the year. They complained of the vines being way to much work for retirement and that the B&B although also hard work helped bring in an additional monthly income. We munched on some nuts as we chatted until we saw it was getting late, so walked down to the small individual house where we were staying. It had a kitchenette, bathroom and large bed with bed warmers. We made an easy dinner with our left over groceries and watched a bit of TV before falling asleep.
Published by Giff Kabat
I grew up in Ohio as a kid, so of course I went to college at “THE” Ohio State University. I graduated in 2001 with a major in business finance. A month after graduation, I moved out to California with my college girlfriend (whom I married in 2005)…and started my career in sales (industrial sales for 5 years…then moved into medical laser sales for 4 years).
In 2009 I was 31 years old. I had a great job, a new house, and a beautiful wife. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better…my wife and I found out we were going to have a baby. Everything was going according to plan…and I couldn’t have scripted a better life for myself.
Then in the same year…everything changed. My wife, Brandey, called me when I was on my way to work and told me over the phone, something I never thought could be possible in a million years. My beautiful 30-year old pregnant wife was just told that she had breast cancer. At that moment, everything stopped all at once. I immediately went to her…and learned of our new plan…which began with her needing surgery immediately…and the rest we would find out later.
The day we returned from the hospital after Brandey’s surgery…my father died. He had been battling an aggressive cancer of his own…and although he was the one person I wanted to speak with about Brandey having cancer…I never told him. My sister, Brooke, had just gotten married a few months ago, and although he was weak, he was able to walk his little girl down the aisle of her wedding. On the night before my sister’s wedding, Brandey and I told him that we were pregnant and about to make him a grandfather. It made no sense to tell him that everything had changed for us…so he died in peace knowing everything was “the way it should be” for his only 2 children.
2010 was the worst year of my life. We had lost our baby…and for 12 months I watched my wife fight cancer with multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and drug therapy. It was a difficult year for us…but we made it. When you go through something like this in life, you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you. I was amazed at the strength and courage of my wife…and how many good people there are in this world. I will be forever grateful for the ones who never ceased to amaze me with their kindness during this hard time. Family, friends, and sometimes complete strangers…helped us make it through this. I am, and will always be especially grateful to my mother, who was with my dad at the very end, when I couldn’t be there, and when things were at their worst. She has been so supportive throughout all of this, and without her everything would have been so much harder for me.
It’s 2011 now…and the plan we have for our life this year…is to make it the best year of our lives. Brandey is officially in remission from breast cancer and she has a 95% chance the cancer will never come back. Besides the love that I have for my wife and family, the loves of my life are food, wine, and adventure travel. My wife and I love traveling to new places, seeing natural wonders, and meeting new people from different parts of the world. So for the next 400 days…we’ve decided to travel the world…and celebrate our lives. There are so many things I took for granted in life that I will never take for granted again. My father worked for over 30 years at the same job with the same company…rarely took time off…and died at 64 years old right after his retirement. For me, this trip is a combination of a tribute to him, along with wanting to spend the time of my life with the “love of my life.”
* The only thing I will miss while we are gone is our family and friends (who we hope will meet us somewhere throughout our trip) and especially our 3 little kitties we left with my mom in Ohio to catsit for the next 400 days. I will also miss watching “American Football” over the weekend…but I’ll do my best to check the scores in the middle of the night.
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