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Drinking Shiraz And Eating Crocodile: Two Weeks Working The Harvest Down Under

Two Hands

Last month I won a Majestic trip to Australia! Don’t be too jealous though – there was lots of work involved…

…two weeks working the Aussie wine harvest 2014 at the Two Hands winery in the Barossa Valley.

Four Majestic staff won a creative writing competition to book our seats on the plane – I chose to go down the poem route and was lucky enough to have been picked a winner by the Two Hands team – thanks guys!

Here’s my poem below. Scroll down to see a photo round up of the work I did during harvest, plus a little snippet of the fun bits in my spare time…

Just small lyrics to reveal my passion,
For a winery that has made full bodied, fruity wine a fashion,
This is why I want to work for two hands in OZ,
A new and exciting challenge, because…

The world has so many vineyards but so few have the x-factor,
An amazing opportunity to know Elizabeth Maragh drove that tractor,
The Garden Series – an Aussie shiraz adventure,
Part of vintage twenty fourteen – an unforgettable experience to survive even dementia.

Twenty-four months on the diploma,
Jancis says reading cannot beat the two hands aroma,
What better way to develop my career,
Quality without compromise, to this the dudes adhere!

A vision to be the world’s greatest winery,
Samantha, Lilly and Bella – veraison in all it’s finery,
Sitting proud on St. John’s Wood-en stack, I’ve Recommended since 2010 and customers come back!
A unique winery, full of ‘innovation and fun’,

With Twelftree and Mintz – 1999 it all begun,
A once in a lifetime experience,
Graft: pick, press, ferment – let the harvest commence!

This is the Two Hands Cellar Door, where you can taste all their fab wines on the deck – I had my wine with some warm ciabatta bread and Two Hands’ God’s Country olive oil – delish!

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Fully ripe Shiraz grapes waiting to be hand picked.

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The head wine maker Ben personally visits all the vineyards, taking samples of the grapes to make a decision on when is the right time to pick. Each vineyard must pass the taste test.

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An old vine – gnarly!

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In the winery…the grapes start to arrive (that’s me driving!) with everything picked into small one ton bins to ensure the grapes arrive in good condition.

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After being crushed and de-stemmed the wines are put into large stainless steel fermenters – now it’s time to dig out and press.

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Purple stained hands – it’s vintage time.

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After all the grapes are pressed, the juice is put in a fermentation tank to turn into wine!

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I didn’t get to see the final fermented wine that I made bottled up, but did see some others go into bottles to be stored and shipped all over the world!

Now for a little bit of spare time out of the winery! I went on a visit to cellar doors in the Barossa… here’s me at the kangaroo feeding time at Whistler wines.

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I also spent the weekend on an adventure tour of Kangaroo Island – breakfast with the Koalas, lunch at the emu distillery, sand boarding at little Sahara, seal spotting and Kayaking at Vivonne Bay Lodge.

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No visit to the Barossa is complete without sampling the local delights at the Barossa Farmers market. It’s a must to have a breakfast burger and homemade icecream.

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Just before my 23-hour flight home, there was time to take in the sites of Adelaide, watch Australian football at the new Adelaide Oval, admire the botanical gardens and visit Haigh’s chocolate factory! I couldn’t resist the temptation to buy some chocolates to enjoy on Glenelg beach…it was difficult but I managed to save some for my colleagues in the office.

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There was one last thing to do before I left Australia and that was sample the local cuisine. Phil from Two Hands and I worked our way through a grilled tasting platter of crocodile (snappy!), emu, quail and venison, all washed down with a glass of Samantha’s Garden.

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There is just one word to describe my adventure Gnarly!

Read more Majestic travel stories in the Travel section of our blog!