Falling in love with vineyards
Our long journey to Colmar Estate began in the early seventies when Bill developed an interest in wine after a trip to South Australia. He began to explore wine, tasting the best that his meagre budget would allow and reading whatever he could. This wine thing was interesting! France was the epicentre of the wine world at the time and he decided he just had to go there.
In early 1977 Bill walked into a bicycle shop in London, bought a secondhand bike, fitted a couple of panniers on the back and started peddling. The next three and a half months saw him cycle down the west coast of France through Normandy and Brittany, up the Loire Valley through wine villages like Vouvray, Chinon and Bourgueil, over to Chablis, then onto Burgundy and all those great vineyards and fabulous wines he had read about. The wonderland of Alsace was a highlight before he headed into Germany peddling through the spectacular vineyards of the Rhine and Mosel Valleys. After re-entering France and visiting the Champagne region he made his way back to London, having clocked up almost 4000km. Yes, he was fit.
And he was hooked. “Seeing all those famous places and vineyards was very special but what struck me most, especially in France, was the deep connection that the vignerons had with their vineyards, which in many cases had been in the family for many generations. For these folk growing grapes on the family’s vineyard and making wine was not a job, it was a calling. This was where they belonged. And I had the strangest feeling – I thought I kind of belonged there too”.
From that time on Bill had a dream: to own a vineyard one day.
Falling in love with Jane
1977 must have been a very good year as not long after returning from France Bill met Jane. It wasn’t the most romantic of starts – we met immediately after a wild demonstration on the streets of Brisbane – but we have been together ever since.
And now we're here!