Maria was stuck with the boys for 5 whole days, poor love.
While she may want to block it out she has not been allowed to as she has been busy writing a blog to tell us all about their adventures.
So here it is, enjoy.
Thanks Maria

The second big adventure of the year!
We were all very excited to head back to South Australia to visit all our old and new friends there.

After an early start we hit the road in Adelaide in our ‘fancy’ Ford XR6, fortunately it was not bright orange like last years hire car. We headed straight for Clare Valley to visit our newest recruit to the portfolio, Pikes Beer Company.

Henry Pike established the family brewing business in the small Adelaide Hills township of Oakbank in 1886, 110 years later fifth generation descendants of Henry Pike, brothers Andrew have relaunched Pikes Beer. Pikes beers are now brewed in their new 20HL craft brewery under the careful watch of Head Brewer Brad Nolen and Assistant Brewer, Alister Pike.
As well as their fantastic Pilsner, Sparkling, Stout and Tonic ale, watch out for their vintage 2015 Kriek and some other gems which are coming soon. One being a new Pale Ale which we saw being brewed, I was lucky enough to add the hops. It was a momentous occasion! Yay, we helped! After helping out with a new brew the guys showed us their 1946 Pikes flatbed trucks which they salvaged from an Adelaide Hills collector, the family hope to restore both trucks ‘in their spare time’. After a fantastic meal in Seed restaurant, where the 12 hour slow leg of lamb was amazing, we headed for a nightcap in the aptly named ‘Middle Hotel’. Because it’s the one in the middle of three hotels. Of course!

Thursday morning we set off for Mclaren Vale, our first stop was Alpha Box & Dice. AB&D are the latest GRAPE addition to our portfolio so we were really excited to meet these guys and to see what quirky new wines they have up their sleeves. We met up with new winemaker Sam , new marketing manager Lachlan and owner, Dylan. After tasting new releases of Apostle 2012 and Hercules 2012 we headed up to the winery to see some wines in the pipeline for upcoming releases. Some very interesting things are on their way or as they say more wines to add to their alphabet. After avoiding the hurricane and hailstones outside we tucked into amazing brisket sandwiches, eventually we ventured out to do a little exploring of McLaren Vale. Later that evening we headed to the Victory Hotel for a great dinner and some pool.

Friday!! Busy day of enjoying amazing food! Oh and we tried some wines too!
First stop was getting Matt’s coffee order correct, we all know that there are no chocolate sprinkles on a Long Mac right?
Once we got him sorted we headed for Battle of Bosworth & Spring Seeds Wine Company to see Joch & Louise. We had a look at the all of the ranges including the single vineyard Braden’s Block and Chanticleer. After a quick vineyard tour we popped down to the winery to taste some barrel samples of 2016 wines…. again watch this space!!

After some homemade meringues (yum, thanks Lousie) we headed up the road to see Brad and Nicole at Brash Higgins.
As always the welcome mat was rolled out and we were greeted with a fabulous lunch and a comparison of back vintage and current vintage Grenache Mataro, Nero d’avola and then some MRLO and Omensetter. With full tummies we headed out to the winery to visit the barrels and the all important Amphoras of wine! Both Chris & Luke got intimate with some Nero d’avola. Looks like there are more surprises in store for us with the next few releases, including the new Bloom wines. They are biologically aged wine that has been in the making since 2008. This is a type of wine that ages under the influence of Flor, a friendly yeast that protects the wine from oxygen during the aging process. Bloom is styled on the Vin Jaune of The Jura region. Very exciting!
After a ‘busy’ afternoon, we headed to the Salopian Inn for dinner with the Bosworth’s and Hickey’s.
Those guys seriously know how to feed their customers!!

An early and cold start next morning brought us to Goowla on the banks of the Murray river to meet the new winemaker, Simon, at Salomon estate and his wife Audrey. After a quick brekkie we headed out to the Finniss River Vineyard. The vineyard is further down the Fleurieu Peninsula around 40 minutes drive from McLaren Vale. After we met the local residents (the sheep) we had a quick look at the new release wines from Salomon Undhof and Salomon Estate. The 2014 was a moderate vintage in terms of heat and the wines look really pretty. We then had a walk around the estate to see the ‘waterfall’ of Finniss River. It’s usually a trickle, but with all the winter rain it now was pretty full. You can certainly see how Bert & Gertrude fell in love with this area.

Our next stop was Vale Brewing and Fox Hat. It all started with good intentions but then the boys got distracted by the 10 tap bar in the brewery, the picture says it all! After the quickest brewery tour known to man we settled in for some ping pong and planned to take over the world. We are excited to say that we will have cans for Vale Beers coming soon.

We then headed for Barossa where we got to try an ancient form of bowling called Kegel with the lovely people from Yelland & Papps. The Kegel Club in Tanunda is one of the only remaining Kegel clubs in the world. Kegel originated in Egypt and was adopted by the Germans, the Lutherans however bought it to the Barossa, they used the game during religious ceremonies. The game is based on 9 pins and all the set up, ball return etc is manual! Next time think about the machines that do the work for you. After around 5 hours of playing and tasting some great wines we called it a night. The winner was the ever gracious Matt.
The next morning we headed to the Yelland & Papps home to have a delicious home cooked breakfast and have a looks at some barrels and wines from 2016. We’re happy to tell you that there is more Second Take Mataro from the 2016 vintage!

All in all we had another amazing trip. Thank you to all our fabulous wineries and breweries for your time, hospitality and kindness.
We look forward to seeing you all soon at the Grape & Grain Pop Up in August.