Road Trip Part Two: Driven to Drink

South Australia

Following our two days on the Great Ocean Road, we had some serious driving to do to make our way into South Australia and to our hotel in Cape Jervis. On Day 3, our agenda was to drive, drive, drive with one important stop – wine tasting in the Coonawarra wine region.

Because I was determined to burn as much daylight as possible (see how well I’m doing on my New Year’s Resolution of promptness?!?), I set us on a schedule to leave early in the morning. I think Partner-in-Crime believes I tricked him into getting up earlier than he ever believed possible because I set my alarm for 6:30 and told him it was time to get up 30 minutes later, despite the fact that I might have known, he was planning on getting up at 8.

By the time he realized my “mistake,” he was already showered and packed.

What I hadn’t taken into account with my little scheme was that leaving Portland that early meant that we were going to be tasting wine at about the same time we’d normally eat breakfast.

Given P-i-C’s deeply abiding love for Coonawarra, there was no way we could go right past, regardless of the hour. We pulled up to the first winery at 10a.m., but found it decidedly closed, even though a sign suggesting they opened at precisely that time. So, we traveled a hop and skip up the road and pulled into the next winery. Also closed. I declared that I would at least be using this stop as a photo op, and as I pulled out my camera, we suddenly remembered that when crossing from Victoria into South Australia, we’d changed time zones. In one of the most peculiar peculiarities about Australia, the time zone change is not the customary hour, but only half an hour.

I know this because when I first arrived, I had a cell phone purchased online from Adelaide, and it was perpetually an annoying half an hour behind.

The good news is that the half hour time change meant that we only had a short wait until our winery opened – just enough time for some photos of the vineyard in its Autumnal glory.

We learned that the Coonawarra wine region is actually only a small strip of a few kilometers with some sort of exceptional soil qualities (the particularities were explained to us, but I can’t exactly remember. Blame the vino). The good news is that you can actually visit all the wineries with cellar doors without leaving one main road. We didn’t visit all the wineries, but we dedicated a couple of nice hours to tasting. My favorite wines were at the lovely little Bowen Estates, where one wine was better than the next.
I embarrassed my wine snob husband by gushing over, and eventually buying, a bottle of Sparkling Shiraz at Leconfield. A wine snob, I am not, and I loved this froofy and tasty concoction.
The Holy Grail of the trip was a stop at Wynn’s, a winery which P-i-C declares fanboy loyalty to. 
We admired that Coonawarra terroir and tasted all that was on offer, but didn’t buy, since we were flying and it’s easy enough to buy Wynn’s at our local bottle-o (bottle shop, for my Americans). 
On our trip, we learned that Wynn’s, an historic winery – the first in Coonawarra – is actually currently owned by Foster’s. We also learned that my fangirl favorite, Rosemount (who we visited a couple days later) is also owned by Foster’s.
My new slogan is: Foster’s. Australian for wine.
I did not employ any good wine tasting etiquette, and just sipped to my heart’s content, since P-i-C was driving, so I was good and tipsy – followed by drowsy – by noon. 
We got back on the road for the rest of our long driving day. I even did a couple hours of driving (after I was good and sober) – a big step forward, given my crippling phobia of left-side-of-the-road driving.
Some of the folks at the wineries were nice enough to propose alternate routes for us to take to that night’s destination, so we detoured on a slightly more scenic route. We had to cross a river on a ferry, which was a bit outside of the GPS’s usual route, and had me questioning how sober I really was …
We had our last light of the day at the pretty Victor Harbour, and stopped for some sunset photos at the top of the hill, which showcased the village, bounded by the ocean.
We did the last leg of the drive in the dark, despite my early rising ruse. We were staying in Cape Jervis, about an hour from Victor Harbour. There’s not much there, but we were getting on the ferry for Kangaroo Island the next morning, so we just needed a nearby bed. We ended up in a cabin on a working farm, and what a lovely view it was. No street lights and little light pollution from nearby cities meant that we had a night sky full of gazillions of bright stars. We admired the surf and sky from the ferry dock for awhile, and then turned in early to be well-rested for our Kangaroo Island adventure the next day.
When I woke up at daybreak, I was greeted by a tree full of galahs, these adorable grey and red birds who are members of the cockatoo family, squawking away immediately outside our door. 
I communed with them and the farm for a bit, just taking in every bit of the crisp and clear air.
When P-i-C woke up, I turned on the TV because it was ANZAC Day, and I find the holiday alternately confounding (because we have nothing that compares in the U.S.), inspiring (Australians travel to foreign countries – Turkey, France, South Korea – for sunrise services commemorating military battles of the past) and fascinating (because the national sense of pride is rarely so on display as on this holiday). I love watching the coverage, and one of these years we’ll actually stay in Sydney and go to the parade, I think.
Memorialed out, and ready to get on the boat, we said goodbye to our pretty lodgings and prepared to board the Kangaroo Island ferry. 

If there was ever a place that deserved its very own blog entry, it is Kangaroo Island. So, I’ll wrap things up here, and we’ll finish this fairy story soon.

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