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Travels on my stomach

By: Darren Gall Posted: August-20-2009 in
Darren Gall

Travels on my stomach –Wine and Food Journeys

The Little Valley of McLaren Vale some 40 kilometers south of the South Australian Capital Adelaide is one of the most picturesque and beautiful wine regions in the world, with a rich history of grape growing, produce farming and food culture.

The vale is bordered on the east by rolling hills that form the southern tail of the Mt. Lofty ranges and on the west by the pristine beaches of the Gulf of St. Vincent -who just happens to be the patron saint of wine. In between you will find vineyards, olive groves, almond groves, fromageries, organic produce stalls, bakeries, chocolatiers, restaurants and old fashioned country pubs –all positively reveling in the individual qualities of their local produce.

I was fortunate enough to spend a few years living there and working with a local winery in the early 1990’s and to this day it remains one of my favourite places in the world.

The region was originally inhabited by the Kaurna people who lived there for thousands of years. An important character in the Kaurna Aboriginal creation story is the elder known as Tjilbruke who carried the body of his nephew down the Fleurieu Peninsula coast of the Gulf Saint Vincent. The path Tjilbruke took along the coast is referred to as "Tjilbruke's Trail" and begins at Warriparinga by the Sturt Creek and ends at the southern town of Rapid Bay. The trail is marked by a series of natural springs that can be found all along the coast. The story of Tjilbruke tells that every night of his journey Tjilbruke would cry over his nephew's body and his tears became a spring.

European settlement began in the region with the surveying of the land in 1839, by John McLaren. Soon after, two townships where established close by to each other with the names of Gloucester and Bellevue. At this time the region was known as McLaren Vale but there was no town of such name; it was not until the buildings of these two towns met each other in the 1920’s that the townships agreed to merge under the one name of McLaren Vale (1923).

Wine grape growing and wine production have always been a part of the region; as early as the 1850’s the historic Hardy’s and Seaview wineries were in operation. It is widely accepted that Thomas Hardy’s purchase of the Tintara Winery in 1853 is the symbolic ‘beginning’ of the town.

The history and fortunes of the region are closely tied to the tidal-like fortunes of the wine industry and characterized by a cast of characters known for the enterprise and pioneering spirit and for their eccentricity and joy of life. Two of my all time favourite McLaren Vale ‘characters’ being ‘Strangeways Wigley’ and ‘The Witch of Ningpo’.

Robert Strangeways Wigley was a state cricketer and a student of law and architecture, however his eccentric behavior saw him ‘banished to the bush’ having proved somewhat of an embarrassment to his Adelaide establishment parents, (where they no doubt hoped he would remain). Such behavior included riding a horse through the town hall and commandeering a pie cart for a joy ride down King William Street.

Strangeways established his vineyard in McLaren Vale in 1894, giving the property the name Wirra Wirra, a local indigenous
term meaning ‘amongst the gums’. He was a student winemaker of Thomas Hardy, from whom he received high praise. At the time of his passing in 1924 he possessed a formidable holding of 240 acres under vine. Today, Wirra Wirra is one of the most impressive and beautiful wineries in the region, making superb wines of high international reputation and standing.

Mary Anne Aldersey was known in McLaren Vale circles as ‘The Witch of Ningpo’, having been born in London in 1797 to a wealthy, nonconformist family she studied Chinese language at school in London. At the age of 40, alone and ‘unattached’, Mary headed to Surabaya, Indonesia and established a school for Chinese girls. When the treaty ports in China opened up in 1843 she moved the school to Ningpo, where she continued to work until 1861. During this time one can only imagine the difficulties she must have faced and the locals, ever suspicious branded her both a witch and someone who communed with the spirits, in fact there were so many local stories about her she became somewhat of a local legend. In the end she managed to overcome such prejudices and won the locals over; who decided that since England was ruled by a Queen she must have sent Mary Ann over to be Queen of the British residents in Ningpo.

Historical evidence suggests the Mary Ann may have been the first single white woman to work in China. In 1861 Mary Anne retired to McLaren Vale, Australia where she built her house and named it ‘Tsong Gyiaou’ (song jow). Today, the two story house forms a central part of the McLaren Vale and Districts Memorial Hospital, the crescent-moon road that arcs through the property is fringed with the imposing, tall gums that Mary had planted, there is also an historic Manse on the property built of local stone. The house that Mary built remains one of the most majestic and impressive in the region. Records indicate that all who knew Mary in McLaren Vale referred to or, knew her as ‘The Witch of Ningpo’, it is a title she must have carried with some affection because if one wanders into the tiny little cemetery at the back the little church on the corner of Aldersey street and Tatachilla road (built in 1844), you will find her grave stone proudly bearing the title ‘The Witch of Ningpo’ under her name.

Today in McLaren Vale and the surrounding districts you will still find standing many of the original settlers cottages, built sturdy from local stone; a large number of these have been converted into local tourist attractions such as bed and breakfast accommodation, art galleries and restaurants. The people of McLaren Vale are themselves a feature of the region, hard working people living mostly off the land, with a pleasant disposition towards having fun, enjoying life, proud of the fruits of their labours and most importantly, friendly and happy to share it with visitors.

Having established itself as a wine region from the earliest days of European settlement, McLaren is today home to some of the oldest wine-grape vineyards in commercial use (mostly Shiraz), with many of its vines dating back over a century. Today, these vineyards are considered to be viticultural national treasures, producing tiny yields of exceptionally concentrated fruit that in turn produces wines of incredible depth, complexity and concentration of flavor.

A legacy of the ancient vines and winemaking heritage in the region sees McLaren Vale enjoying international recognition as one of the world’s leading producers of full bodied red wines from varieties such as Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvedre. There is also some exceptional Viognier produced here and Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs that are more than respectable and usually well priced.

Some of the wines available in McLaren Vale have reached iconic status in the wine world and winery tourism is a growing and popular pastime. Fortunately, McLaren Vale is well acquainted, well accustomed and well equipped to cater to the needs and desires of the wine and food tourist and is a leader in the field amongst the wine regions of Australia.

At the many, many cellar outlets you will find a wide range of table and fortified wines to sample as well as local produce and attractive merchandise on offer.

Aside from the McLaren Vale Township itself the region has a number of other historic townships. Willunga, Kangarilla and Clarendon are some of my favourites, very quaint and beautiful, one drives down main-streets that look much the same as they might have 100 years ago with their buildings of local stone and timber -and all within close proximity to each other. The township of Willunga is the second oldest township in South Australia, initially a staging point on the arduous journey from Victor Harbour to Adelaide; it grew into a central supply station for building materials with the development of slate mines in the area. Its main street winds through town and up Willunga Hill and boasts three country pubs that the locals affectionately refer to as; the top pub (uphill from the other two), the middle pub and the bottom pub. At the top of the main road (just past the top pub), you will find the historic, Willunga Courthouse and Police Station Museum, complete with cell block and outbuildings. It is open to the public with historic displays as well as being a regular host to weddings. A stone and slate one-teacher school was built in the mid 1800’s; this was the council office for many years into the 1960's and is still well maintained. Many original mud, stone and slate cottages are still lived in and finding them dotted about the town is a fascinating past time.

Every Saturday morning Willunga holds its Farmer’s Market, where people come from far and wide to buy local produce and specialty foods. The friendly country atmosphere and the variety and sheer quality of the produce on offer make it a must see attraction for travelers. Even restaurateurs from the state capital Adelaide regularly make the journey down to procure ingredients for their finest dishes.

The Monthly Quarry Market is also not to be missed, it is a larger affair with produce, plants, crafts and second-hand goods.

First stop for any traveler to the region should be the McLaren Vale Information Center, which is on the left hand side of the main road into McLaren Vale just before one enters the township proper. Here you will find all the information you could possibly need to enjoy your stay in the region, from locals who are passionate about their home and happy to share the best experiences the region has to offer. There is also a good deal of local produce and handcrafts on sale here and local tours may be booked from the center. Set on 12 hectares of extensive grounds the centre features its own vineyard, lake, linear park and landscaped gardens showcasing regional floriculture. The building itself is a focal point with rammed earth walls, 100 year old timbers, and local stone and slate all combining to make an architecturally unique structure.

Willunga House is a Heritage Listed, Georgian Styled, two story building built in the 1850s, it was originally a general store but has been beautifully restored into boutique accommodation for couples and small groups. The grounds boast an impressive organic vegetable garden and free range chooks, whilst the cellar is filled with home-made jams and preserves. Throughout Willunga House, rustic charm melds with contemporary style. This theme flows beautifully into the sitting room and the five guest rooms. They all have distinctive furnishings and unique antique pieces, creating a charming ambience. They also have their own private bathroom or en-suite, where you can spoil yourself with Davroe toiletries and fresh fluffy towels. One of the undoubted highlights of any stay at Willunga House is the magnificent breakfasts, which feature their own produce or local produce acquired at the Farmer’s Market.

Where to Eat:
The region boasts some of the finest regional restaurants in Australia and indeed throughout the world, it is a part of the passion and very fiber of a region with a long history of growing and producing some of the country’s finest wines and market produce. Indeed, some of the world’s great wining and dining experiences are to be had here.

The Star of Greece: An icon amongst locals, it seems this is the restaurant that everyone in South Australia recommends, never mind that its 45 kilometers south of the capital. What started as a little 1960’s wooden shack, beach-kiosk is now one of the hottest restaurants on the planet. Perched on the edge of a cliff-face at Port Willunga, overlooking the gulf of St. Vincent, the panoramic ocean views are simply mesmerizing, one could be forgiven for thinking they were on the Amalfi Coast were it not for the Aussie Accents. Named after a shipwreck that has sat out off the coast since 1888, the little kiosk operated as just that until taken on by Zanny and John Garcia who have transformed it into, well, an eccentric little beach kiosk-come restaurant that serves up some of the finest food and wine in Australia - combined with some of the best views and ambience you’ll ever experience. The food is contemporary with a Greek/Seafood bent, the wine list is extensive and international, the atmosphere noisy, frenetic and at times a little crazy, which somehow adds to the charm of the place. Local Port Willunga Squid, caught and served fresh, is a highlight amongst many on the menu. This is far from fine dining but, the food is not compromised. This is what the region is all about in so many ways, a great location, friendly, slightly eccentric people indulging in their passion to serve great food and great wine in a no fuss, casual and at times almost uproarious, good-fun setting.

The Salopian Inn sits on the southern fringe of the McLaren Vale Township on the road to Willunga, (About 4kms away). The stone building was built in 1851 as an Inn licensed to a Mr. Gumprs, today it is one of the most awarded and celebrated regional restaurants in the country. The restaurant is something of a local watering hole for winemakers and would be gourmands, in fact on any given Friday afternoon one can find a veritable who’s who of the local wine industry, usually perched on or around the bar drinking the regions finest and discussing all manner of local interest. Again focusing on local produce, the menu at the Salopian Inn is contemporary and interesting, the cuisine sublime, one can select their own wine from the three original cellars that are under the restaurant and all well stocked with local stars.

d’Arry’s Verandah is the restaurant at d’Arenberg Winery, the timber, corrugated iron and glass structure is basically a glassed in verandah that forms part of the original homestead, and now houses the winery’s cellar-door facilities. Peter Hopkins in Qantas In-Flight Magazine once described looking out over the verandah and down onto the patchwork quilt of vineyards as: like looking out into the heart and soul of the McLaren Vale region. The chefs at d’Arry’s Verandah have successfully drawn on the extraordinary food and wine resources and culture of McLaren Vale to produce imaginative, big-flavoured dishes that have instant appeal. The wine list is well selected with the emphasis on local wines and d’Arenberg highlights. The restaurant collected the South Australian restaurant and catering award for best winery restaurant in both 2006 and 2008.

Russell’s Place: Russell Jeavons is a quiet, unassuming, gifted chef of some 25 years standing; he has been described in equal portions as a cooking mentor, teacher, philosopher and a master of his craft. One could certainly add eccentric to the many superlatives used to describe both the man and his career.

Having decided to remove himself from the grind and pressure of being a high profile, fine dining chef, Russell took up in an old stone blacksmith’s cottage built in the early 1800’s, in the main street of Willunga, and decided to open a ‘pizza joint’. Of course, Russell’s humble ‘pizza joint’ is no ordinary pizza joint and is now a local institution. There is also a wooden ‘function’ shed out the back where Russell sometimes caters to one of his other great passions, holding ‘Tango Nights’ for the locals. The cottage, known only as Russell’s Place, has no signage, there is no advertising done and it open only one night a week.

On Friday evenings people come from far and wide to cram into the little cottage with its rustic fittings and furniture, bookings to dine in are needed many, many weeks in advance. One room is dominated by a long bench table and a hand-made wood-fired oven, All of the food is made with local produce and all cooked in the wood-fired oven that Russell built himself. All the food is kept relatively simple, emphasizing ingredients and the harmony of simple flavours, my favourite is the Moroccan Lamb, yoghurt and Lime chutney pizza, but the simple blackboard menu changes weekly. The venue is licensed but you are welcome to BYO.

Russell’s is a unique place and a unique dining experience, the ambience is loud and party like, it’s hard to tell the locals from the waiters as everyone seems to be having an outrageously good time. An evening at Russell’s is invariably an evening of celebration, celebrating local produce, the joy of life and the unashamed fun the locals are having living in this beautiful region.

Chapel Hill Winery Gourmet Retreat: Long regarded as one of the region’s premier wine producers Chapel Hill Winery also boasts a Gourmet Retreat for residential guests, complete with hands on cooking classes. Weekend packages are offered as well as a host of culinary themed events. Operated by legendary McLaren Vale foodie Pip Forrester and her longtime chef Peter Hogg, the retreat offers the pinnacle of food and wine tourism.

Wineries to Visit:
As could be expected in a region with such a long and illustrious wine history as that of McLaren Vale, it would take over a month to visit all of the impressive and diverse wineries the region has to offer. The region boasts wineries large and small, old and new, family owned and corporate empire, modern to rustic, traditional to innovative.
However, one theme runs through them all, to survive in this wine country your wines need to be either good or exceptional and to a fault and that is just what you will find here -a dizzying selection of good to exceptional wines in a large variety of types, styles and price points.

In fact, if you can’t find something you like here then perhaps wine just isn’t your thing.

Wirra Wirra: Originally founded in the 1800’s by ‘Strangeways Wigley’ and then rebuilt from the ruins in the 1960’s by the equally eccentric Greg Trott, the magnificent stone and slate building of Wirra Wirra winery is one of the most impressive and dramatic in the region. Also impressive is the massive ‘Woodhenge’, rail-and-post gate at the entrance, made from ancient red-gums. The timber and stone cellar-door offers a wonderful glimpse of the region’s past; whilst the wines are some of the very best the region has to offer. A cheese platter is available to accompany your wine sampling and guests are invited to ring the towering ‘Angelus Bell’ should it take their fancy. Special selections of ‘cellar-door-only’ wines are also usually available. Their RSW Shiraz is a must try wine.

Coriole: One of the most picturesque properties in the region, Coriole winery is owned and operated by the Lloyd family who purchased the original property in 1967. The original Shiraz vineyard was planted in the 1920’s. Coriole’s cellar-door operations are set amongst a landmark cottage garden which has attracted interest from garden-lovers worldwide and is spread around a heritage listed, ironstone cottage and barn built in the 1860’s. A maker of exceptional wines and a pioneer in Australia of the Sangiovese variety, the Lloyd family also produces their own olives, olive oils, vinegars and own the multi-award winning Woodside Cheesewrights in the nearby Adelaide Hills, all of which are available for sampling at the winery.
Exquisite lunch platters can be taken in the courtyard Friday through Monday featuring local produce including the family’s cheeses and oils and the remarkable creations of artisan bread maker Paul Vanzatti. On the first weekend of each May, Coriole has, for the past decade, held a very impressive classical music festival that is a highlight of the regional calendar. Their Sangiovese blends are as superb and enjoyable as they are interesting.

D’Arenberg: in 1912 Joseph Osborne then a Director if the Thomas Hardy & Sons winery in McLaren Vale purchased the well established Milton Vineyard and the d’Arenberg legend was born. Today the winery is still family owned and run by 80 old d’Arry Osborne, the patriarch of the family and indeed, largely regarded as the living patriarch of the region. D’Arry’s son Chester Osborne is senior winemaker of some of the most well known and internationally successful wines produced in the region. The Osborne story is one of incredible persistence and ultimate success, culminating in d’Arry Osborne receiving a Medal of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday celebrations for his contributions to the wine industry.
The winery prides itself on using utilizing its old vines and traditional winemaking techniques right down to some of the ancient machinery still employed at the winery. The cellar-door even showcases some of the old tools of the trade employed by d’Arry over his 65 odd vintages. The property boasts one of the region’s great restaurants and there are so many different (and very good) wines available for tasting at the cellar-door that setting aside the entire afternoon for sampling and feasting is highly recommended. No trip to McLaren Vale would be complete without a visit to d’Arenberg and a long visit at that. d’Arenberg produces so many outstanding wines it is almost an embarrassment of riches, the 28 Road Mourvedre and the Dead Arm Shiraz being two of my long term favourites amongst many d’Arenberg greats.

Chapel Hill: The cellar door at Chapel Hill is set within the historic 19th century stone church from which the winery takes its name. Situated at the top of one of McLaren Vale's majestic hills, views from the cellar door are magnificent. Chapel Hill's cellar door is also a showcase for produce made at the Chapel Hill Gourmet Retreat such as Olive Oil, Dukkah and Verjuice. Winemaker Michael Fragos is one of the bright shining stars of the region, having been crowned Winestate Magazine’s Australian Winemaker of the year a few vintages back and winning both national and international awards for his outstanding wines.

Woodstock: Scott Collett produces wonderfully rich, powerful red wines at his family property in the McLaren Flat sub-region of McLaren Vale. The winery was named by Arthur Townsend after his home town of Woodstock, in Oxfordshire, England. Townsend settled amongst the towering gum trees in McLaren Flat, built a home and a brick well and planted vines and fruit trees in the 1850's. The property has been known as Woodstock ever since.
Located in the centre of the town Woodstock, a set of wooden stocks stands as a reminder of an era of public punishment -a most frequent punishment for drunkenness and associated behavior.
At Woodstock Winery stands a replica of those stocks. Interestingly, the original and replica both contain five holes to hold five feet. Today, Woodstock's flagship red wine is named "The Stocks" and two blends are named "Five Feet".
The winery boast a large round function hall come restaurant built from rammed earth, surrounded by grounds shaded by native bush and tall trees. An exclusive selection of museum wines are available at the cellar door and an interesting range of preserves, jams, relishes and other foods made at Woodstock are on offer.

Hardy’s Tintara: As has been well documented, Thomas hardy was the founding father of the South Australian wine industry, today Hardy’s wines form a major part of Constellation Brands, the largest wine company in the world. Thomas first established a winery in the state in 1853, in 1876 he purchased the Tintara winery in McLaren from Dr. Alexander Kelly and then purchased the local ‘Mortlock’ Flour mill two years later, converting it into the main winery. Today, Tintara winery remains the premium red wine making center of the Hardy winemaking empire and is one of the most historic and important winemaking facilities in the country.

Walk around the rustic ironstone buildings to soak up the historic ambience of Tintara. The heart of the Cellar Door building dates back to the 1880s and the Old Bond Store, originally stables for the flour-mill, was built in the 1850s.
You can stroll around the picturesque and beautifully perfumed cottage gardens, and pause for a moment to pay homage to the Father of the South Australian wine industry at his memorial bronze bust in front of the cellars. For a few minutes, just sit beneath the magnificent canopy of the 140 year old Moreton Bay Fig tree and imagine how different life was when the tree was a mere sapling and Thomas Hardy’s empire had just begun at McLaren Vale.

The Cellar Door offers a full range of premium Tintara wines for tasting and sale, plus some wines exclusively from the cellar door. Whilst at Tintara drop in and visit one of Australia’s most renowned artists – David Dridan – in his own gallery which showcases not only David’s personal works, but works from a leading artists from the Region. Dridan’s Fine Arts is located right next to Cellar Door on the grounds of Tintara.
Other Things to See and Do:

The Olive Grove is a 60 acre property nestled amongst the vines, high above the township of McLaren Vale; the property consists of 20 acres of Kalamata olive trees, 2 acres of Verdale olive trees and just over 30 acres of Shiraz vines. The old settler’s cottage has been turned into a cellar door which offers visitors the opportunity to taste and purchase a fabulous range of olives & oils, plus many other local gourmet foods. The Olive Grove has become an icon in the McLaren Vale district known for its exceptional quality olives and oils. All olives are patiently hand-picked and pickled in a traditional method without the use of any chemicals. A small quantity of the 'Family Reserve' olive oil is produced each year from the Verdale olive trees which have been growing on the property for over 100 years. All their olive oils are cold pressed extra virgin.

The Cellar door offers all The Olive Grove's products for sampling including the Family Reserve Extra Virgin olive oil and delicious olives and pesto. Also available is a range of body care products, which are made using their olive oil as the base. The owner are also one of the largest breeders of alpacas in the world, therefore the Olive Grove also showcases a fine range of products produced from this fibre. Including scarves, jumpers, throw rugs and quilts, to name a few.
On weekends, regional platters can be purchased and enjoyed under the cottage’s large pergola, the platters feature a veritable who’s who of local produce featuring Kalamata olives, extra virgin olive oil and pesto partnered with Springs Smoked Salmon, Angelakis Marinated Calamari, Dukkah, 'Alexandrina Cheese Company' Cheeses, Red Wine Mettwurst, Rocket and Romano salad and freshly baked breads and crackers, partnered of course with a hardy glass or two of their own wine.

Nestled in a tiny little shop-front on the main street of McLaren Vale is the delightful little store simply named ‘Blessed Cheese’, inside you will find a charming café offering Local, National and International cheeses and the best cake and organic coffee in the Vale. At the rear of the store is the teaching wing where classes are conducted in cheese making and wine and cheese matching. Home cheese making supplies are also sold here and the business also caters to many of the events and functions held in the region. Blessed Cheese offers a staggering collection of exceptional cheeses and is the place to sample and stock up for your stay in the region. There is are also Wine and Cheese Trail tour on offer; a hamper of a variety of types and styles of some of South Australia’s best cheeses is purchased and packed at the store and a journey embarked on to designated wineries, where a particular cheese is selected from the hamper to be matched to a specific wine on offer at that winery.

Chocolatiers and confectionists, David and Sharon Medlow Smith started their confectionary business in McLaren Vale in 1996, from their family kitchen. In early 2002 they sold the business but retained their factory-shop, now located at McLarens on the Lake, where they produce and sell direct to visitors from all over the world.
David Medlow Chocolates has developed a range of pectin jellies and hand-made Chocolates which visitors to their factory and sales area are invited to sample whilst they watch them being made and yes, you may purchase direct.

Other Attractions:
Apart from gorging yourself on magnificent food and wine, the region has a great deal to offer tourists and travels, The un-crowded beaches offer excellent swimming in the clear, clean waters of the gulf; local fisherman boast that South Australia is home to the best seafood in the country and fishing is almost a national pastime. In the Hills that fringe the region you will find several national parks with walking and bike trails taking in natural flora and fauna and the entire region seems to be dotted with quaint, historical villages and heritage sites.

Don’t Miss: The Onkaparinga Gorge and Wetlands, If you are interested in fishing, canoeing, rock climbing or photography, this spectacular park is a must visit. South Australia’s second longest river, the Onkaparinga enters the park in a steep sided valley and flows into a magnificent gorge with cliffs up to 50 metres high and large permanent rock pools. The park, which incorporates the Onkaparinga River Recreation Park, follows the river to the sea, discovering an entirely different environment in its estuary and wetlands.

The park is located 35 kilometres south of Adelaide city centre and on the northern end of the McLaren Vale region. Onkaparinga Gorge’s spectacular rugged scenery makes it particularly attractive to bushwalkers, but the steep trails in this section of the park are suitable only for the experienced and fit. However, a number of less demanding trails provide an opportunity to enjoy the gorge without having to descend to river level.

The Echidna Trail winds its way amongst some of the best remnant vegetation and visits six heritage sites, including huts and houses built in the 1880s. Twenty-seven native orchid species have been recorded in the area.

The estuary section of the park offers a contrasting wetlands environment which provides breeding habitats for numerous fish and bird species. The areas of samphire flats and mudbanks are important feeding grounds for wading birds, swans and pelicans. A 5 km interpretive trail around the wetlands can be accessed from River Road.

All up, a trip to McLaren Vale offers something for everyone but for Food and Wine Lovers the world over, the region offers an experience that will rank alongside the very fondest of your indulgences. Yet, be warned, whilst you will hope that the glorious memories of great meals, great places, great wine and great people remain with you forever, you will be also be wishing that the inevitable and sometimes sharp gain in weight will soon work itself out of your system.

Darren Gall is a 20-year veteran of the wine industry with experience from brand ambassador to winemaking and grape growing. He has worked in over 20 countries.

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