Friday, May 30, 2014

Lake Powell: (Hidden) National Treasure

The Grand Canyon

Horseshoe Bend, Page, Arizona
From the Overland Expo at Mormon Lake, we headed to Page, Arizona to meet up with The Ride of My Life Crew for a few days out on Lake Powell.

But first, we met up with my Mom, who, knowing we would be in one place for more than 2 days, flew out to visit us and help celebrate Roel’s birthday. So, we took hot showers and washed off all of our hard earned Overland Expo dust in her swanky hotel room, and then headed off for the Grand Canyon and Antelope Canyon.

We had seen the northern portion of the Grand Canyon last November from the Toroweap Overlook but given that we were practically “driving by” the West Entrance of the Grand Canyon on the way to Page, we couldn’t not stop for a look.

The ride to the Grand Canyon to Page took us through vast

expanses of “nothingness”. Rolling hills, rock formations jutting up out of the sands here and there. And the occasional Navajo craft and jewelry stands that seemed to pop up out of nowhere, were the only indication we were on reservation land. Of course we had seen the famous photos of Antelope Canyon and expected a feast for our eyes upon entry, but immediately upon stepping between the canyon walls it was the energy of the place and the way it made us feel that was remarkable. 

There is a stillness and a sacredness held tightly between the canyon walls that can be palpably felt. The way the light filters through the crack in the rocks high above your head and illuminates particles of dust kicked up by your fellow man is nothing short of magical. 

We caught up to Brad, Chris, Jarod and Jeff at the Antelope Point Marina and climbed aboard a small lake cruiser that was even more heavily loaded than our bikes are. Brad and Chris had decided to
take Jeff and Jarod on a mini-vacation as a “thanks” for all of their hard work and they kindly invited us along. Both Roel and I were blown away by the beauty of Lake Powell as we slowly cruised around to find a suitable place to camp. I’d always heard about Lake Powell, but nothing really stood out in my memory. Chris, who has spent years navigating the lakes many canyons would be going full steam toward what appeared to be a canyon wall, but at the last moment, another canyon would open up into view and we find ourselves even deeper in the Lake Powell canyon system… It wasn’t a stretch to close my eyes and imagine we were on the set of some apoplectic flick where the Grand Canyon had been flooded and we’re boating through it to find any remaining life.  We set up camp in Friendship Cove and spent the next two days exploring Lake Powell, hiking to Rainbow Bridge, and fishing off of cliff walls that reached a hundred feet above our heads but descended to 400+ feet beneath the surface of the water. It was great to spend time with the guys around the campfire and gaze at 1000s of stars that appeared each night, thanks to zero light pollution.
We had to leave early in the morning so we could all get on the road. There had been discussion about whether or not to fuel the boat up before making the trip back to the marina. The fuel gage wasn’t working and somehow it was determined that we probably had plenty of fuel and we should make a go for it. Well, at 6am, about 400 yards from our campsite the boat sputtered to a stop. That answered our question pretty clearly. Since it was still early, no one would be at either marina to answer our call for help over the radio, but eventually a nearby boat responded. Upon hearing we were out of fuel and adrift, the gentleman, who introduced himself as “Buzzard” in an exaggerated Southern Twang, shouted “Y’alls in PERIL!!!!” We looked around at one another, then at all of the food and beer that remained, shrugged and started to chuckle. Until Brad and I realized there would be no way to make coffee on the boat… We were indeed in PERIL!! Not to worry, Buzzard was on the way to the rescue in his 3 bedroom houseboat, with coffee brewing.

Buzzard, with a bald head and a beard longer than my ponytail, greeted us with a shotgun at his side as his houseboat pulled alongside our imperiled raft, but once handshakes had been exchanged, we were deemed trustworthy and our boat was tied up for a tow, Buzzard’s family was the definition of Southern Charm and Hospitality. Since the massive houseboat couldn’t quite exceed 6mph while towing our boat, the 30-mile journey back to the marina provided ample time to get to know Buzzard and hear all sorts of interesting stories. The previous day, Brad had mentioned that I really should take Roel back to the South of the US and explore the Mississippi. Well, thank you Buzzard: with your stories about Armageddon preparedness, armed standoffs with the police and exacting personal revenge on a cheating spouse, pretty sure we took out two birds with one stone that day. It was like an episode of Duck Dynasty meets Doomsday Preppers. Nonetheless, thank you Buzzard and family, for answering our call.
While our views on life may be very different, our encounter with Buzzard and his family only proved, once again, that at the most basic level, people are genuinely good-hearted and out to help their fellow man, regardless of where they come from, what they believe in and who they are.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Overlanders Overlanding in Flagstaff, Arizona

Leaving Joshua Tree National Park

We left Joshua Tree National Park and rode and rode and rode and rode through the desert, over the hills of the original Route 66 and through a blustery evening to get to Flagstaff, Arizona. 

Oatman, AZ

Why? Believe it or not, there are 6,000+ crazy people like us and we all found a way to meet up in Flagstaff, Arizona. The Overland Expo plays host to dreamers, planners, gear and advice providers, and mid-trip RTW (Round the World) travelers, like us. It also brings awareness to excellent causes like (which is working to ensure that the Mexican Wolves stay off of the extinction list) and Lost for a Reason which raises money and does work to fulfill the needs of residents of  Native American Reservations. 

We got to connect with other RTW riders including Rene
The Lizzy Busy setup
Cormier, author of The University of Gravel Roads, which tells the story of his RTW trip by motorcycle. We got to meet the inspiring Lizzy Bus duo, going RTW in a Land Rover... their tagline: Un-sponsored - Un-supported & Un-hinged :)
Mark and Rose from KLiM/Wolfman were there, so we had a
Saturday night highlight: Ted Simon
chance to have dinner with the KLiM team, which includes Rene, Cristi Farrell of Motoriffic Podcast fame and Alison DeLapp, who, after riding South America solo, is living the dream in Panama. And, after watching a documentary about his second trip around the world at 70 years old, we got to meet the legendary Ted Simon, author of Jupiter's Travels.
The Ride of My Life and RawHyde crew put on a great show
A massive toy-hauler was set up near our tent and had a pretty sweet lounge area set up just outside of it... Mark soon introduced us to Brad Barker, a documentary filmmaker, who is looking for "good news" in a world where bad new predominates... and so he has taken to a BMW GS 1200 to find it, and find people with good stories along the way for his next project: The Ride of My Life. So we sat down with him for a chat on camera and the next day took a ride out to Sedona with his crew of riders, cameramen and a horde of GoPros. It was a challenging ride for me... only my second
The views of Sedona from Schnebly Hill were well-worth the
"bit" of gravel, sand and boulders we had to navigate to get there :)
"dirt" road since our 4-month riding hiatus. And while I had a couple of proud moments, they were frustratingly cut short when I would come to a stop to catch my breath and realize I couldn't touch the ground under my bike... and down we went :/ The good news was that it was a good test-ride for my new KLiM Altitude suit... no broken bones and no bruises!! :) And the other good news was that Brad's crew was never around when this happened, but my lovely boyfriend handed over the GoPro footage he captured from behind me. Hopefully, the quality of our old GoPros isn't good enough to make the final cut, but I have a feeling I'll see myself onscreen eating dirt a few times on Schnebly Hill Road. 

Payback, when I figure out something appropriately fitting, will be sweet, dear Roel. Muahahahaha!

Slow-speed racing the world-famous, Shawn Thomas
The next morning, I spent a few hours with Shawn Thomas from RawHyde Adventures, as he conducted a beginners off-road course. Hm... probably should have done that course BEFORE Schnebly Boulder Road... oh well. Anyway, it was a great way to get up my confidence after Schnebly Hill Road beat it out of me the day before, and I did pick up a few tips from Shawn.  

A lil bike winching action
After giving a presentation about our bikes and our travels (with a crowd largely made up of larger BMWs, the Hondas were quite a draw), we took the opportunity to wander around the Expo area... Roel and I are getting around the world just fine with what we have, but I have to admit there were some seriously drool-worthy exhibitors at Overland Expo:

Mosko Moto makes a seriously well-thought out, expertly designed (think along the lines of Dakine), and get this, AFFORDABLE, soft luggage system. Yes, not only have these guys thought out every element of this system, done extensive crowd sourcing 
The top duffle converts to a backpack
on ADV Rider, etc., as riders themselves, they have faith in these systems and know that if they price these bags lower, they'll ultimately sell more because their ingenious luggage system will speak for itself. You don't need to price a product at the high end of the market to make a lot of money - you need to make a solid product that sells itself and then you'll sell more than enough to make a good profit. They're good guys, too :)

We're going to try out a solar-rechargable Luci light by MPOWERD right now. Pretty perfect for motorcycle travel... I'll flatten it out and strap it on top of my topbox to charge while riding during the day and at night it becomes an awesome little lantern. And again, it's another socially conscious company, which provides these renewable light sources where there is no light, standing for "Solar Justice" for all. 

And NEMO Equipment was represented by The Raven Workshop. Again, both socially conscious companies that are doing their best to make/sell environmentally friendly products and make the world a better place for people in need. 

When we weren’t wandering around exhibits or going on rides, we were meeting other adventure riders and inspiring travelers, left and right. The Overland Expo attendees are an incredible network of like-minded individuals. Just as we were getting ready to leave, Brad asked us to join his team for some R&R and a little more filming in Page, AZ… tough offer to turn down, so it looks like our next blog post will be from the shores of Lake Powell, AZ.  

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Back in the U.S.A. and even better... back to the bikes!!!

Don't worry, we're still on Hondas... but we really like BMW :)
Upon touching down in LA, Roel and I hit the ground running. A dear girlfriend of mine picked us up from the airport, late Thursday evening, and while she was at work on Friday, we sorted out how to travel the 60 miles from her house to Irv Seaver Motorcycles, where our bikes have been looked after in our absence. 

With a “to do” list for each bike that seemed to run a mile long, consisting of odds and ends from simple things like “change front tire” to more complex things like “replace engine valve seals,” we had our work cut out for us. We spent almost every day of the next week making the journey on the I-5 (for those of you not from the LA area, the I-5 is a 6-7 lane raceway/parking lot, depending on the time of day, disguised as a major highway), to the land of beautiful BMWs, kind (and funny) associates, and extremely helpful mechanics. 

We had met David Diaz, the general manager of Irv Seaver Motorcycles at the Long Beach Motorcycle show prior to our return to Australia to work, and he very generously offered to help us out. While David is a gem, we soon discovered that he is just a reflection of the culture at Irv Seaver Motorcycles, and all of his employees are just good, good people. These guys and gals (love when I see ladies working in the parts department) work LONG hours, but are always smiling - indicative of their passion for motorcycling and excelling in the realm of customer service. And speaking of passion… if helping out two Honda riders, from whom they stand to gain little from financially, doesn’t show an extreme dedication to bikers helping bikers, I don’t know what does. And it certainly doesn’t hurt our affection towards BMW as a brand ;)
The only thing that is OK about this photo is that my new KLiM LADIES Altitude suit is in that box!!!
Engine work, not so much :(
My bike presented the most complex project with us trying to determine my oil consumption issue by getting into the engine and seeing if swapping out the valve seals made any difference (it didn’t), so we were back to riding two up on the Africa Twin for that week. I often rode in wearing jeans and then changed to shorts in an effort to beat the heat wave that took over the area that week. With these daily wardrobe changes, a couple of the guys dubbed me Adventure Barbie. Ha. Ha. (Very funny, Kevin.)

But then, my new KLiM suit arrived, and if Adventure Barbie were to have a suit, this would be it! The developer and designers at KLiM really put their best foot forward with this
New KLiM Ladies Altitude Suit. Yes.  
first foray into this aspect of the female rider market. The suit is streamlined in all of the right places, but still roomy where it needs to be in order to be comfortable, and it has all of the safety features, bells and whistles one would expect from KLiM. Add to that, cinches and waist zippers to give it a distinctly feminine look, and it’s a winner. I have to admit that it took a few minutes to get over the fact that my knees are going to get nice and dirty given how often I need to stop and top up oil on my bike, but hey, as one rider commented regarding whether or not to wear a light colored suit: “it’s ridiculous that we buy black bikes, black suits and black helmets and then spend all of this money and energy trying to become high-viz.” And I agree. Safety is the name of the game here… we’ll just see how well all of the stains I’m sure to “earn” will wash out in a few months ;)

We wrapped up our week in LA and at Irv Seaver Motorcycles with a small presentation for some of their customers. It was a nice way to connect with some more local riders and reconnect with old friends…                        
Réal, our friend from Quebec surprised us at the presentation
                                           Réal, a rider we first met in Quebec, happened to be next door in Arizona and rode over to see us! 

After bidding farewell to the Irv Seaver family, we headed in the direction of Flagstaff, AZ… our destination: The Overland Expo.. a conference for overlanders of all types, where we can network, trade travel tips and stock up on any gear our overloaded rigs might be missing…

We split the ride into two days, spending our first night back on the road in Joshua Tree National Park. We pitched our trusty tent under a brilliant sky full of stars and a nearly full moon that provided the perfect amount of light to silhouette the Joshua Trees that surrounded us. What a way to kick off this next part of our journey!

Joshua Tree National Park

Friday, May 9, 2014

Getting our fill of what we miss most while on the road: Family and Friends from Home, The Netherlands Edition

Keukenhof Tulip Gardens

Harvest in Australia passed in a blur of long days, purple stained hands and clothing and the consumption/creation of some really excellent wine. One particular day did stand out amongst the others: Hans and Carol, our Fairy God Parents from Toronto, surprised us at the winery. They had taken a cruise around the Pacific, which dropped them off in Sydney, so they decided to pay us a surprise visit at the conclusion of their travels around Australia. It was wonderful to spend time with them and yet again, they made a big impact on our motorbike travels: we had been planning to travel South through Mexico and Central America during May-July, realizing it would be extremely hot and likely very rainy, but thought this should be our plan, nonetheless. All it took was Hans, with his lingering German accent to say “It’s too HOT” and Carol saying “Why don’t you go to Alaska?” for us to think: Huh, why DON’T we go to Alaska?

It sounds ridiculous. (About as ridiculous as riding through Mexico in the rainy/hot season.) And that was pretty much it. Decision made. Alaska, it is!

With the harvest season winding down, we packed up our belongings, stored my trusty red Camry and headed to Sydney to spend a couple of nights with our friends there,
Family time on the beach in Holland
celebrating the end of harvest. Initially we had planned to return directly to the USA and resume our ride. However, Roel’s grandmother had passed away in March and so some family time was needed. 

Our time in Holland was brief but filled with activity, and visits to Roel’s friends and family. It was sad and surreal to visit his Grandmother’s home, where usually, one would find her sitting at her kitchen table, a deck of cards (or two) at hand and ready for a game. Instead, the home that has housed 5 generations of Roel’s family, was empty in more ways than one. Roel’s parents are retired but are the busiest retirees I know, between copious amounts of volunteer work, the local tennis club and a garden that provides them with food year-round. 

But they made sure to make days available to take us to the Rijks Museum and to the stunning Keukenhof Tulip Gardens (never have I been so blown away by a planned garden). 

They also brought us to Belgium, where we took a lovely walk to an Abbey where the kindly monks brew delicious beer. Which we sampled. A lot of.

The World War II Netherlands American Cemetery

Together, we visited the World War II Netherlands American Cemetery, where gravestones of fallen American heroes from WWII spread across the land. It was a sobering sight, especially with the current situation in Russia. 

Camping in the Biesbosch

We got to cuddle Roel’s
Easter in the forrest
(adorable) first nephew and shared an evening with Roel's lovely cousin, Mariette. One weekend was spent canoeing through forested river ways for Roel’s younger brother’s birthday, which happened to fall on Easter, so the boys hid Easter Eggs for me on tree branches, etc. We threw the ball for the family dog, Saico, until our arms were sore. Roel spent a lot of time working with his Dad to create a new chain guard for his bike and some new farkles for mine. And while they were out in the shop, I was in the kitchen trying to soak up some more of 
Roel’s Mom’s kitchen magic: this woman makes soups to die for!  

Farkle-making 101

The King’s Day celebration also took place while we were there; entire cities shut down to vehicular traffic and people literally take to the streets to party, with world class DJs in every square and park and beer flowing endlessly from taps at every corner and in between. We all partook in the festivities on Kings Night, and Roel took advantage of the opportunity to work for his old employer on Kings Day, serving beer to the masses who crowded the main square in Eindhoven to celebrate the Dutch King. 

Before we left, Roel needed to organize a new lock for his left Hepco and Becker pannier which had given out just before we left California in December. After hearing Roel’s story, MDI, a great motorcycle shop in Holland, decided they
wanted to support a fellow Dutchman’s ride around the world and gave him brand new Hepco and Becker Gobi Panniers, rather than letting him buy a new lock for his old ones. Roel was really pleasantly surprised by MDI’s generosity, but given that his current H&B boxes have been through 11 years of riding “Roel Style,” they were due for retirement, and so he was really grateful for this gesture. SO, instead of packing up a suitcase to return to the States, Roel packed up two new Hepco and Becker panniers, courtesy of MDI Motorcycle Equipment. 

A little tasting dinner for Roel's family and friends
Time seemed to evaporate, and before we knew it, we were on our way to Schiphol Airport. Although we were depressed to be leaving Holland, we were grateful to have had the time there that we did: time spent with family and true friends refreshes and reinvigorates the soul like nothing else can. And the European delicacies aren't so bad, either ;)

BUT, of course, we had the bikes to look forward to, awaiting our return at Irv Seaver Motorcycles, in Orange, California!!! 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

How we work to make getting around the world work.

One of Tyrrell's amazing vineyards, framed by the Brokenback Mountain Range
Whenever we tell people that we fund our travels by working in wineries during the harvest period, we invariably get sighs about how idyllic and romantic it must be and lots of jokes about drinking on the job, etc. While it is indeed a very fun (and sometimes romantic) industry to work in, comprised of very internationally-minded people, it is actually quite scientifically precise work, and can be very physically challenging and exhausting. But drinking a wine that you have worked on and have had a part in nurturing from harvest, to fermentation right through to bottling is an extremely rewarding and satisfying experience. Add to that the fact that the hours spent assessing wine ferments in the lab, doing manual and at times menial labor, but having the opportunity to learn from magicians (which, is how I’ve come to think of some winemakers when you see what kind of magic they can perform in the winery) allows us to travel around the world… Well, the wine industry has us hooked. 
Building a retaining wall
Don’t get me wrong, we’re pretty much willing to take any work that gives us a good feeling (for example, while waiting for harvest to begin, we helped a friend of a
friend build a retaining wall and put up a shed) and we’ve both dabbled in other industries along the way (the scuba industry, pearling and Harley Davidson for Roel). We do what we can to make it work. So we wanted to share with you what we’re doing for work to make it work right now…

Because nature waits for no one, Tyrrell’s operates a nightshift so that certain vineyards can also be picked by night with machine harvesters and the grapes can be processed right away to ensure high quality wine. Roel and I comprise half of the team that keeps the winery going in the dark. This is Roel’s third vintage working nightshift at Tyrrell’s and it is my first (previously, I had worked at two other wineries in Australia). So now, Roel is kind of like my boss. Regardless of how well we work as a team, you can imagine how well this might go ;)

Our actual manager on nightshift, Adam, is studying winemaking and our other co-worker, Kaz, is also studying wine at university, so we stand to learn a lot, which besides money, is really why we’re here at such an esteemed winery. Tyrrell’s was establish in 1858 by English immigrant, Edward Tyrrell and is currently under the stewardship of 4th generation Bruce Tyrrell, whose children are being groomed to carry this iconic family wine brand well into the future. Tyrrell’s produces a wide range of wines but has a few truly iconic wines that are highly sought after on the international wine market. It is really an honor to work here and to feel like we’re a small part of this tremendous brand and it’s history. So, whenever our sleep schedule allows, we try to get into the winery during the day so we can ask questions and learn from the two head winemakers who have worked at Tyrrell’s for a combined 54 years (one focusing on red wine and one on white); the directors of what is considered the most technically advanced laboratory in the region; and the Tyrrell family, who are down-to-earth and happy to generously share everything they know and love about Australian wine. 

To give you an idea of how a typical shift goes for us…

Wake up. Drink coffee. 
Using an air hose to mix up a ferment... one of the reasons
why all of my vintage clothes look like a tie-dye experiment
gone wrong :)
Dress in what my mother would call “play clothes” because they will inevitably be ruined at some stage during vintage, especially when we start working with red wine. Eat breakfast. Drink more coffee. 

Arrive at work. Clean and sanitize all machinery and tools that will be used to process the grapes that will arrive later. This includes the grape receival bin (where Roel will tip the grapes into from the picking bins), the crusher/destemmer (which yes, crushes the grapes and removes them from the stem), the lines that the grapes/juice will travel through to get into the press, the press (which will gently press out the juice that remains in the grapes), the lines to the tank that will hold the juice, and the tank itself. It is imperative that the grapes be processed as quickly as possible in a sanitary environment to ensure that the highest quality of wine is produced and no damage is done to the grapes/juice through, for example, oxidation (think of how quickly an apple turns brown once it has been bitten into).

Roel on the forklift, tipping grapes into the receival bin
7:30pm - ???
Receive and crush grapes. 
While crushing, we all have roles to fill:
One person operates the forklift, removing bins of grapes form the truck bed, weighing them (so we know what volume to use when calculating additions, later on in the process), and then tipping the grapes into the receival bin. 
Another operates the two augers that move grapes from the receival bin to the crusher/destemmer, the crusher/destemmer and the must pump that pumps the grapey juice mixture (called “must”) into the press. 
Another is required to operate the press and the pump that sends juice into the tank. 
And and yet another “floats,” helping out here and there, working on tanks of juice that have arrived in previous days and once all of the juice is in the tank. 
This portion of what we do is fairly routine but once the grapes are processed and the juice in ready for fermentation or in fermentation, the real fun begins. 

12:00am ???
Lunch? Maybe. Definitely more coffee.
Looking to wear my rubber boots for cleaning,
but they have already been claimed.

12:30am - ???
Cleaning (i.e. chasing grapes with a hose), for however long it takes until there is not a single grape visible on/in any surface of any piece of equipment we have used or flooring we have covered. 

Ferment Analysis
With the white wines, and some red wines, Tyrrell’s utilizes yeast naturally found on the grapes to get the juice through the fermentation process. Because this is less predictable than using cultivated yeasts, it is more challenging and hence we have to keep a very close eye on the ferments to ensure that they stay within an optimal temperature range, that the yeast is doing it’s job and the sugar level is dropping consistently as sugar is converted to alcohol. While we are checking the temperature and sugar, we are also checking for strange smells coming from the ferment. This is where having a few years of experience really comes in handy. 

Roel smelling a ferment to make sure all is well
A strange smell can be indicative of a variety of things, but at this point, usually, it means that the yeast is “stressing” and if left unattended, this can result in a faulty (bad tasting/smelling) wine. With red wine, it will eventually become very obvious when this is the case as the ferment will smell like rotten eggs, but the key is smelling a subtle whiff of something amiss and acting before it gets too far. With white wine, it can sometimes smell like rotten eggs, but it can also smell like canned pineapple or popcorn (which doesn’t necessarily smell bad, but is indicative of bad things happening within the ferment). If it smells like a ferment is “stressing” we add nutrition for the yeast, and continue to closely monitor the temperature, sugar and smell. 

Wine movement supervisor
Wine Movement
Just like it sounds… we move wine from tank to tank, barrel to barrel, barrel to tank and vice versa, per the winemakers instruction; these movements are generally done in order to clarify the wine, as with each “movement” particles that settle to the bottom of the tank/barrel are left behind. 

A unwelcome co-worker
Barrel Work
Barrels and Fudras (super large barrels) need lots of attention, too. Regardless of whether or not they contain an active ferment or are being used for aging a wine. The barrels need to be topped up with more wine or juice from time to time as an “Angel’s Share” regularly evaporates from each barrel, leaving the remaining wine at risk to oxygen
Roel topping up a fudra with more wine to eliminate
the air space at the top
exposure. Also, depending on the type and style of wine, the barrel may need to be stirred to ensure adequate contact with the lees (yeast that has finished its job and settled to the bottom of the barrel) and contributes to a wine’s taste and mouth-feel. 

Yea, very strange, but you get used to it. 

The process changes slightly and things get A LOT busier when we begin to work with red wine varietals, like pinot noir, shiraz, cabernet and merlot. Instead of immediately pressing the must, we instead put it into a large concrete or stainless steel vats and guide it through the fermentation process with LOTS of TLC in the form of thrice daily ramming (a process where you use a stick with a flat bottom attached and gently press down the grapes that have risen to the top of the ferment back down into the juice),
Fun with pumping-over
aeration or pumping juice from the bottom of the vat over the top of the grape cap on top. This is all to ensure that the juice has a good amount of contact with the grape skins where color and other important elements of the wine will be derived.

Once a ferment has finished, we then drain the vat of all of the wine and shovel or pump the remaining must into a press to extract remaining wine from the grapes. 

I have to say it took a few weeks to get used to sleeping during the day and being awake and functioning all night long. It is certainly not ideal for the body clock or your sanity, but there were a few things I really came to appreciate about working night shift .

1. This harvest began as a serious heat wave was moving across Australia, threatening wildfires and just generally making anyone outside of an air-conditioned building, miserable. Working at night was perfect… the heat of the day had disappeared and the temperature couldn’t have been more pleasant. 

Sunset from the "office"
2. Watching the moon rise over the silhouette of the Broken Back Mountain range. 

3. Watching the sun rise over over fields where sleepy kangaroos were just beginning their day with a breakfast of dewey grass.

Sunrise at the "office"