The metro train system to the city of Melbourne and suburbs was extremely easy, user friendly, and cost effective. The Yarra River runs through the city and the culinary scene is trendy featuring an international flair to satisfy any fastidious taste buds. The Yarra Valley Food Trail offers Kangaroo jerky and other local fresh culinary delights. Don’t forget the vegemite spread, it is a taste that unforgettably lingers on the tongue and probably do not want to experience twice thank you very much. If you are a Banksy fan don’t miss his satirical street art and gift shop downtown. Just ask the locals the directions because it is not openly advertised.
North of Melbourne, the town of Cairns is great places to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef and while you are there experience true luxury at the Shangri-La Hotel. I also had the privilege to travel to Sydney and stay at a hotel that included a roof top pool to enjoy the views of the busy city, opera house, and its local beaches. It was intriguing to witness Sydney’s bat migration from our hotel window. During the day, fruit bats are curled up in a ball, asleep, and hang from the trees. Around sunset they awake, gather, and fly off into the sunset similar to a big long dark cloud, then return to the trees before sunrise to be repeated daily.
While ordering from a restaurant’s wine list in Melbourne, little did I know, I thought SA stood for South African wine; the waiter understandably informed me that SA is an abbreviation for South Australia wines. I am always looking to taste and learn about wines and their wine regions, so yes indeed, exploring the South Australian wines from local festivals and the wine trails from Yarra Valley, Mclaren Vale and Barossa Valley taught me a few things. In addition, the proximate wine stores had introduced me to other wine regions such as Margaret River, Mornington, and Hunter Valley which had opened up a whole new world of what Australia wines have to offer. We have to keep in mind that due to climate change some grape varietals in some wine regions may be in danger because of its warming effect and may affect high quality wine.
Victoria’s first vineyards and wine region dates back to 1833, and today there are over eighty personal wineries. Some local wine producers around Victoria sell their wines at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne and the place where I learned the local wine jargon. For example, ‘plonk’ is a bottle of cheap wine and a ‘flagon’ is a 2 liter bottle of wine.
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The Delong 100 Grape Varietal Challenge encourages all wine enjoyers to expand their wine drinking horizon by seeking out unusual grape varieties. These past few years, I have tasted over 180 grape varieties. After all, there are over thousands of grape varieties world wide. With so many wine grapes, styles of wine, and wineries to explore, wine is an educational adventure. So grab your virtual passport and come along with me on a Grape EdVenture™ around the world.