McLaren Vale


I had a dream the other night... 
I was taking photos over a high dam wall. It was a beautiful scene with blue water, rolling hills. Photogenic. I was with someone else, and we decided to go back and get another shot. I had my camera on the tripod, trying to get it up high enough to see over the wall. When I looked through the viewfinder, all I could see was water. I wondered for a bit, and then realised it was a great wall of water coming towards us. 

We ran, we ran back across the bridge we came from and looked for higher ground. I said 'as long as I don't get my camera drenched'. Strange that I thought about my camera over my life. We found higher ground, slightly, on steps and waited.

The water came, but only as a trickle. What was most upsetting was the people running with it. Running from the wave and it's destruction it had left across the other side of the bridge. Wailing mums and grandmas scrambled in front of me. They were sobbing out words, trying to tell me what and who they left behind. I wondered 'would it be ok to take a photo and document this?' I went into photojournalist mode but held back because I was there for a different purpose. I didn't want to upset the people that had invited me in to take pretty pictures by taking photos of their torment and agony. But I am a photographer - and I had the urge. In some ways, I felt responsible to document the event.

The dream ended, so I'm not sure what I decided. But I still remember this dream days on. Is it a little prod - telling me to do something? Perhaps it's a next exhibition idea - emotions and life. I'd like to help tell people's stories. 
Let me know if you have any ideas...

In the meantime, I am in another exhibition called Skrambled Eggs. A fab group of pro photographers taking photos with their iPhone and electronic devices. If you want to be wowed with what can be done with such a device, head to De La Liff over the Christmas break. You never know, you may even nab yourself a Christmas present while there. :)

Don't forget about day tripping it down to McLaren Vale to visit Salty Stories at Red Poles either... no excuse needed. Kids love running around in the pit, parents love the wine and beer, and everyone loves the food. 

Gorgeous Festival - a day away from our kids.

A date without kids, with my bestie, and our men. Wow. This has not happened since…. err… umm… I can't remember if this has ever happened since having kids. The crowd.

Chilling in the shade

Cheers to plastic glasses...

Festival at night

Crowd at night

Ferris wheel and stage

Ferris wheel

Food line ups

Ben pulls me up for a dance to The Timbers, love 'em. We are doing our shin-dig-jive when, BAM, I cop a frisbee to the back of the head. While I'm still rubbing it, and wondering if I'm bleeding, BAM, the frisbee hits me again, on my forehead. Ouch. I boot scoot it away from the stage so quick, hearing the lead singer casually saying 'hope no one has got hurt'.

I'm shocked but I have to laugh about it. I'm one of those people who will walk into doorways or trip over a mat that hundreds of people have walked over before me with no problems.

It's 32 degrees, but by about 4pm, cloud has come over, and it's beautifully overcast. Perfect. We have squeezed in among the crowd under the shade of the big gum trees, and have found more friends. Band after band are on stage, entertaining us with the chilled tunes. And we don't drink too much either… with a wait of half an hour or more for the bar, who could. We are also not going to get fat here, lines for the food, which have half sold out by the time we get to the front, are at least half an hour also.

But you know what, it is a great day, and it doesn't bother me.

Nothing is bothering me today. We sit and chat, we sit and listen, we sip wine, we wander, we even giggle on the ferris wheel (Ben hates heights). Life without kids. Every parent needs to do this for at least one day every few months, I reckon.

Well, nothing bothers me until we want to go home. Our taxi driver this morning suggested we book the return home during the day, to make sure the wait isn't too long. We listen, but decide to book just before wanting to leave, purely because, we didn't know when we wanted to leave. We ring Yellow Taxis, they confirm our booking, and then we wait. And wait. And wait. We try to call back. Always engaged. We call another taxi company to book. They are engaged too. We call Yellow Taxis again. Still no answer.

We booked our taxi at 11.30pm, and by 1am, we are still waiting. It's getting mildly cold. Everyone else is leaving - minus a few who are waiting for their taxis also. We are growing impatient. I'm getting very tired. Ben is getting hungry and grumpy. We've had enough. We ring my besties mum. She comes to get us.

Teenagers. We feel like teenagers again, having to call our parents to come get us. Shameful… What a crap ending to an awesome festival. But hey, a day without the kids. Bliss.

Stevens Wines, McLaren Vale

Stevens Wines Graham Stevens greeting

Graham Steven

Carolyn, Grahams daughter at Stevens Wines

McLaren Vale. It's home to some very decent wines. It's the secret sister to the Barossa. Especially on International Tourists radars. I'd say it's time for the world to know how good it is, but then, I kind of want to keep it to myself.

Only 20 minutes from our home, it's bordered by the rotund Willunga Hills, white sand and untamed beaches of Port Willunga, Maslins and Aldinga, and the countryside of Onkaparinga Hills.

The wineries that are here range from contemporary, to boutique, to home grown basics. Stevens Wines is nothing spectacular in terms of wine tasting ambience and scene setting. But what it does do well, is give you the authentic meet the winemaker experience. We are met by Graham himself, opening the door wide to the cellar door. I see a family man, a hard worker, and an honest man written on his face. Speaking to him, I also find out he has quite some humour. I guess you have to when working with winery tour participants. Graham has lived grapes and wine his whole life - having won the first vine pruning trophy at just nine years old. I guess you could say he knows a thing or two about making a good drop.

And his hard work and knowledge has payed off. For a small winery, with production of very few wines, it certainly pours a fine glass. At Australian Wine Shows, Stevens Wines has already won more than 50 awards, in just 2 seasons.

So, next time you are in McLaren Vale, don't just head to the big boys. Take a punt, and take the next turn off. You never know what treasures you may find.

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