Merry Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

Time flies when you are having fun! Life just gets busier.!!!

We started the year with much needed renovations to our house. They have been ongoing all year and include a new roof, air conditioning, kitchen and family room. A swimming pool, which was only just finished before the cold weather came, so didn’t get much use then but is proving a Godsend now the hot weather has come.

Vintage proceeded smoothly and our new equipment proved invaluable. We made and bottled 9000 litres of champagne which will be ready for disgorging in mid 2013.We did not pick any reds due to rain which caused the red grapes to be diseased.
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Ballooning has been extremely busy with passenger numbers up. We spent hundreds of hours organising the Balloon Challenge Fiesta and both got a bit ragged in the months leading up to it. It was a huge success and we are now into the swing of organising next years event but thankfully with a small but great committee and an ever increasing band of local volunteers.

Straight after the festival Jan started a round of being “fixed up”. First was an open repair of an inguinal hernia, which meant no driving for 6 weeks…….Gra was fabulous in chauffeuring duties at this time.. In September came the total knee replacement in Sydney. Our friends Graham and Judy were fantastic help as Gra had to come home and work….a cappuccino a day whilst in rehab made a huge difference. Once again Gra had to step in and cook, wash and drive. It’s fairly difficult to not have wheels when you live 8km out of town. The new knee is truly remarkable.

In mid June we took off for 11 weeks in our new camper towed by the Landcruiser 200……the longest holiday we have ever had!!! We spent an interesting night in an underground motel in Coober Pedy on the way to Alice Springs. Then it was up the Tanami track to the Bungle Bungles where the gorge walks and the helicopter ride were amazing. A few days were spent in Kununurra where we took a cruise on Lake Argyle and a fast boat trip down the Ord River. Then it was on to the famed Gibb River Road….it was in much better condition than we had been led to believe. A couple of days at El Questro then up to the Mitchell Falls where Jan wore out the seat of a pair of shorts by sliding down rocks when the going got tough. We met some wonderful people along the way and spent hours over campfires hearing their stories. A week in the Dampier Peninsula (above Broome) saw the reddest cliffs, bluest ocean and a huge mud crab or 2, caught whilst out with the local aborigines. Then it was up to Derby and an overnight stay at the spectacular Horizontal Waterfalls….the seaplane trip into here was something we will never forget. Back to Broome for a few days (and a lovely string of pearls for our 40th anniversary, which we had celebrated at a place called Honeymoon Bay (above Kalumburu) All this in over 30 degrees, what a difference from home.
We continued on to the Pilbara region,…….everything here is more than HUGE. This is where we both ended up at Tom Price (Jan) and Exmouth hospital (Gra) with acute bronchitis. Had 3 days in Exmouth holed up in a motel to start recovering. Realising that time was running out we headed down the coast through the wildflower country, then across the Nullabor (freezing cold, wet and windy) via Broken Hill then home. In total 19500 kms….and not even a flat tyre

Anton Kylie and the girls have been up to visit several times . Anton and Gra love spending their time together making cheeses, salamis and killing and cutting up the lambs we fatten in our paddock. It makes for great eating. At the beginning of October they were here in time for Kylie to prove invaluable in helping Jan get the kitchen back together. She proved relentless in “rationalising” what went back in the cupboards. Amelie started school this year and is loving it, both girls play soccer in the winter (Anton coaches one of their teams, Early in the year Amanda was invited to do her Ph D at Oxford Uni, where she has been working for the last 5 years.. After a long and complicated application process including having to “matriculate” as a new student, she commenced studies in October. This is going to take a lot of understanding and patience from Matt for the next few years. Jan is waiting impatiently to attend her graduation .
We talk to them each week on video Skype so that we can watch Bella and Morty growing up by remote. This does at least mean that they know their Aussie grandparents

Anthony, Kylie , Laura and Amelie come to visit frequently as they are only a couple of hours away. Anthony and Graham have spent some quality family time making cheeses and salamis . Now that they have bought a new 4WD we are hoping to get away together for some off road adventures.

2011 has seen Graham have 2 cataract operations…both very successful and he has reached pensionable age. Jan keeping well but may need knee surgery next year.

We have just bought a new Landcruiser 4WD and off road camper trailer in preparation for a long trip through the Kimberleys and WA later next year

Wishing you a very Happy Christmas and a happy healthy and prosperous 2012
With Love Graham & Jan graham@gjkerr.com.au “Felton” Longs Corner Road Canowindra NSW 2804 ph 02 631819

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Merry Christmas 2011

Time flies when you are having fun!    Life just gets busier.!!!

We started the year by going to Canberra where Graham and Anthony built a wonderful rainbow cubby for the two grand daughters….sliding and flyscreened windows and all.

Vintage  was very quiet due to excess rain spoiling the grape crops. However due to its popularity we did make a rather large batch of bottle fermented champagne. Our 2012 vintage will be our biggest ever with our major contract customer asking us to produce more than double anything previously. To this end we have expanded the winery with a new air bag press, coolroom and better chilling facilities.

Ballooning has been extremely busy. At the end of March we bought a new 8 passenger carrier balloon aptly named “Hippy” because of its rainbow colours. Following on from the successful balloon festival in 2010  we were asked to set up a community committee and organise the National Balloon Championships here in Canowindra .We spent months chasing sponsors, organising volunteers. The result was a visitor spend in town of $ 1.5m. So guess what , we are back into it for 2012

Straight after the festival Jan’s mum Bea passed away  in her 95th year. Grandma was the last of her generation in our family and is sorely missed by all of us.

June saw us and our friends, Di and Adrian take the Kookaburra balloon on a 10 day promotional tour to QLD. We left it in Ipswich then went 4 WD driving on Fraser Island for a few days  This was top fun, not long enough and our only “holiday” this year.

Early in the year Amanda was invited to do her Ph D at Oxford Uni, where she has been working for the last 5 years.. After a long and complicated application process including having to “matriculate” as a new student, she commenced studies in October. This is going to take a lot of understanding and patience from Matt for the next few years. Jan is waiting impatiently to attend her graduation .

We talk to them each week on video Skype so that we can watch Bella and Morty growing up by remote. This does at least mean that  they know their Aussie grandparents

Anthony, Kylie , Laura and Amelie come to visit frequently as they are only a couple of hours away. Anthony and Graham have spent some quality family time making cheeses and salamis . Now that they have bought a new 4WD we are hoping to get away together for some off road adventures.

2011 has seen Graham have 2 cataract operations…both very successful and he has reached pensionable age. Jan keeping well but may need knee surgery next year.

We have just bought a new Landcruiser 4WD and off road camper trailer in preparation for a long trip through the Kimberleys and WA later next year

Wishing you a very Happy Christmas and a happy healthy and prosperous 2012

With Love        Graham & Jan

 

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Seasonal Regional Foods – Dolmades

Foods from around the world tend to reflect the regional nature of the climate, geography and in deed the residents and their culture. Some of the now world famous gourmet foods originated in small rural villiages throughout Europe. At Toms Waterhole wines in Canowindra, in the beautiful Belubula Valley we continue to look for local foods to match our wines. To this end the vine leaves are large and tender after all the recent rain so that leads us to turn our hands to making Dolmades.
I refer to Wikipedia for a definition….
Dolma is a family of stuffed vegetable dishes in the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire and surrounding regions such as Russia, Middle East and the Caucasus and Central and South Asia. Perhaps the best-known is the grape-leaf dolma. Common vegetables to stuff include onion, zucchini, eggplant, tomato and pepper. The stuffing may or may not include meat. Meat dolma are generally served warm, often with sauce; meatless ones are generally served cold, though meatless dolma are eaten both ways in Iran. Both are often eaten with yogurt. The filling generally consists of rice, minced meat or grain. In either case, the filling includes onion, parsley, herbs and spices. Meatless fillings are cooked with olive oil and include raisins or currants, onion, nuts or pulses.
Dolma is a verbal noun of the Turkish verb dolmak, ‘to be stuffed’, and means ‘stuffed thing’.[1][2]

Dolma is a stuffed vegetable, that is, a vegetable that is hollowed out and filled with stuffing. This applies to courgette, tomato, pepper, eggplant, and the like; stuffed mackerel, squid, and mussel are also called dolma. Dishes involving wrapping leaves such as vine leaves or cabbage leaves around a filling are called sarma though in many languages, the distinction is usually not made. Sarma is derived from the Turkish verb sarmak which means ‘to wrap’. Other variants derive from the Turkish word for ‘leaf’, yaprak.

Anyway back to Canowindra we think it will make an interesting experiment to see if our Dolmades taste any different wrapped in Chardonnay, Shiraz or Sangiovese leaves.

Is anyone else game to join the experiment???

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No added preservative wines

I thought I would share this string of e-mails as it does contain some entertaining snippets…..
Hi Mark
I am the winemaker for Gardners Ground Wines in Canowindra. Herb Gardner has asked me to respond to your request regarding the making of preservative free wines. I have been down this road for the last eight years and yes indeed acetic acid bacteria are the bane of the no added preservative (NAP) wine business.

I don’t really think that I can convey eight years of making “mistakes in the school of hard knocks” in one short e-mail.
If you would like to come and visit me I would be happy to sit over a glass of wine or a cup of coffee and share some of my “secrets” with you.
Kind Regards
Graham Kerr
Winemaker
Toms Waterhole Wines Pty. Ltd.
On 15 September 2011 17:15, Herb Gardner wrote:

Hi Mark,
I am not nearly clever enough to make wine and I lost most of my taste buds in the service of Her Majesties

Australian Navy. However if you look carefully at a bottle of our NAP Shiraz you will see the wine maker is Graham Kerr. He may care to share his knowledge but please notice he may be the best in the business within Australia!

Cheers,
Herb Gardner
Sent: Sunday, 14 August 2011 12:40 PM
To: info@gardnersground.com.au
Subject: Response from your website

I live northern regions of the Southern Highlands of mittogong I have started a small organic vineyard some years ago and now in the proceeds of making wine I have low tolerance to Sulphites and would like to know if you dont use sulphur dioxides in your wine process if so I would be very interested in how you archive this as I have tryed and lost my first havest to aceto bacteria taste like nail polish. Thanks Mark

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2012 Canowindra Balloon Challenge

The dates have now been announced April 14th to 21st 2012. This will be a competitive Hot air balloon event with up to $10,000  in prizemoney. There will be a keygrab, balloon glow and night markets.

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Salami Slamup

Twelve people are registered for our salami workshop this Saturday 20th  August. The pig is hanging in the cool room. the seasonings are lined up on the kitchen bench, the skins are soaking and our guest “salamateur” Tony Belmonte is excited by the interest we have generated.

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Queensland Tour

We are off to sunny Queensland with the Kookabura Balloon for the next two weeks. It is a promotional tour to publicise the launch of The “Treehenge” project which is a project to re-afforest degraded farm lands across Australia. The Kookabura Balloon has been “adopted” as the mascot for the project with the story line that the Kookaburra is looking for his home amongst the gum trees.

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Gab & Gobble

Gab and Gobble @Toms

Join our winemaker for a long, lazy ploughmans lunch of our homemade cheeses, smoked meats, pate, pickles, chutneys and breads.and a glass of wine, whilst he entertains you with anecdotal wine stories from around the world.

Where: Toms Waterhole Wines
Longs Corner Rd., Canowindra
NSW Australia

Time: 12 mid-day

Bookings: Essential - Phone Jan on (02) 6344 1819

Dates: Sundays 19 September, 17 October, 21 November

Also: Montgolfier Balloon weekend 20/21 November 2010

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CC2010

[ photo : geofflubich ]

Well, Canowindra Challenge has come and gone with a week filled with excitement and community involvement. As stated at the awards ceremony tonight in Memorial Park, Canowindra there is plenty to look forward to with talk already of running the event next year.

Many thanks to all of our wonderful sponsors and a huge thankyou to our volunteers who have made this event possible. A special mention also to all of you who traveled long distances to be part of the Canowindra Challenge 2010 event.

See more images from this event here

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To access the Canowindra Challenge 2010 Programme please click on the image below.


You can also read more about the setup for the Canowindra Challenge 2010 by visiting the main Canowindra Challenge page.

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