Well, not really. Quentin Bryce is not my sister, but we are probably related somewhere back in Scotland.
If we are I doubt she would want to recognise all our rellies. I am a direct descendent of Rob Roy McGregor who, contrary to the movie, was in fact a sheep stealer and not a cattle rustler. But Scottish Highland cattle are far more photogenic than sheep.
Speaking of n’ere do wells, we also have a black marketeer and a member of the Liverpool mafia in the family as well (long deceased). I still have an ex RAF Remington typewriter that Uncle Freddie stole for my father during WWII. Most of the rest were pit workers in West Lothian.
Oh, on the other hand there is also John Bunyan (Pilgrims Progress) on my mother’s side just to help balance the books! Nevertheless, Providence wishes Ms Bryce all the best as she prepares herself for her new role as Governor-General of Australia. In my past life I was a VIP captain flying Sir John Kerr and Sir Zelman Cowan whilst they held that lofty office.
We wondered where our environment award was when I read about Toyota getting one for recycling all their roof water. Well, that’s what we have just done as part of our drought-proofing programme.
I should have measured the area of the roof before finalising the plan as we collect much faster than I thought. 10 mm of rain gives us 4,500 litres of lovely water.
Working on our annual average (if that keeps up) we stand to collect 324,000 litres annually and that doesn’t include the sheds. As our daily usage (household, guests use and glass washer) is about 200 litres/day and spray water is 5,600 litres pa, it looks like a lot of it will be drained straight into Pollock’s Creek which runs through the vineyard.
But, on the other hand, if Oz does start to dry out we have about four years of drinking water up our sleeve!
Vintage has turned a bit nasty
Having got the Chardonnay off in perfect condition (for sparkling) the silvereyes found the Pinot and have been giving it a right royal pasting. Notwithstanding that we have carefully netted all the vines, the little suckers have been crawling on the ground underneath the nets, despite the ornithologists insisting that silvereyes are arboreal (don’t touch the ground).
Vintage will be on Sunday 20th April and I have no doubt that we will have lost about 40% of our fruit to their voracious appetites. Of course what follows are the European wasps!
Having cleaned up all the nests on our property we have observed them crossing the road in swarms to hull out the fruit damaged by the silvereyes.
Now that’s not such a bad thing as it will ensure that we don’t get too much volatile acidity in the finished wine.
Well, perhaps not good enough for a straight Pinot Noir, but more than good enough for a great Pinot Rose – our first!
About Rusty Cook
Born Bushey Herts UK in 1945. Migrated to Australia 1949. Schooled in Launceston Tas. Served in the RAAF 1963-1986 initially as an instrument mechanic, graduating from 64 pilots course in 1968. Service in Vietnam 1971. Graduate: Navy Staff College in 1984. Retired as Wing Commander 1986. Graduate: Charles Sturt University 1987 with BAppSc (Wine Science). A decade of wine politics 1987 - 2007 including state president (Tas) and national vice-president of the Winemakers Federation of Australia. State services member: Veterans Review Board 1991 - 2015 and chairman of Life Education Tasmania Inc 2007 - 2013. Passionate about wine; keen trekker in PNG; military history.