How to Wake up with a Hangover

The Mudgee Wine and Food Fair isn’t held in Mudgee.  It’s held along the esplanade at Balmoral Beach, some 3-4 hours from Mudgee.  But a greater mystery would be why they choose to hold this event in August in our coldest month of the year.  Last week we had some beautiful sunny days with temperatures in the low 20’s but by the weekend there had been a 50% fall in temperatures that was unexpected and outside of the norm.

Balmoral Rotunda in the background.  Numbers well down due to the extreme cold.

Carl wore shorts, a T-shirt and a thin pullover like Spring had arrived.  It hadn’t.  What the day presented was threatening dark clouds, a vicious icy wind, some rain and temperatures well below the monthly average.  I don’t think the temperature rose above 12C  (53F) and the wind probably reduced that further as well.  I wore exercise pants (that I don’t exercise in) so the bottom half of my legs were bare and then I had two layers on top and a hooded jacket.  The problem with people in Sydney is that we pretend it doesn’t really get cold here so when a cold day does strike, we have nothing warm to wear – but Carl does have a few things in the wardrobe more appropriate than shorts.

Me explaining to Alfie what gozleme’s are.  He was underwhelmed.  And that is my very smart granny trolley.

We walked down to the Esplanade with our third child who is the one we call our only child because we rarely see the teenagers.  We discovered the event is so much more about wine than it is about food as almost 80% of the stalls would be wineries.  Food can be purchased using money but wine has to be purchased using tokens.

The process for sampling the wines

We bought 10 tokens for $40.00 and that included two souvenir wine glasses.  And with our glasses in our hands off we went to involve ourselves in all there was to offer.

Some people come to these events very prepared.

We bought creamed honey, Carl’s favourite.

Mudgee Honey

Alfie found some chocolate-covered strawberries.

They weren’t giving them away – $3.50 each

Alfie’s choice

Of course there were things to keep the kiddies amused.

$10.00 for a few minutes of bungee jumping up high in the storm clouds

And there was a petting zoo.

$7.00 to be inside the enclosure and touch the animals

Did I mention it was cold?

It’s the cold that’s making me look so unattractive

Then we told Alfie, ‘You’ve had your fun, now it’s our turn so let the wine tasting begin’.

The first wine we tried was from the Well Mannered Wine Company.  We sampled the Rose of Sangiovese that is described as being ‘summer in a glass’ – if only.  It had flavours of strawberry and watermelon with a crisp, dry finish.

I did like the pretty pink hue of this wine

Next we tried Lowe Wines.  We met the wine maker and he says only 2% of Australians drink wine more than two hours after purchase.  Yes, I’m definitely in the 98%.

We tried the Merlot and I’m not usually a fan of Merlot but I enjoyed this – probably because it warmed me up!

We then tried Farmer’s Daughter Wines mostly because I liked the name of the winery.

We tried the Shiraz that was on special that day, two bottles for $30.00. Lovely wine for the price.

Then we bumped into friends so it was all becoming quite social but Alfie was whinging saying he wanted to go home so I gave him some more money to have another bungee jump and we carried on with our tasting (heavy drinking).  We tried Quilty Wines because I liked the sound of the name.  Their motto, ‘Richly textured, painstakingly crafted and gloriously unique’.

I can’t remember what this was.  Apparently it was a 2009 Silken Thread Petit Verdot

I’m sure I enjoyed it.  It seemed very posh.

We then moved on to the Huntington Estate Wines.  The motivation for trying the wines from this winery is that if you joined their mailing list they gave you a free bottle of wine.  Carl and I both joined.  Good thing I brought my granny trolley!

Another Shiraz

This was a very lovely Shiraz.  But by now I’d had quite a few wines and I was cold and numb and famished and confused.  I’d also tried an $80 bottle of organic wine that had been matured for 24 months in French Oak.  With all the drinking and drinking and drinking I somehow forgot to photography that Thistle Hill wine that was by far, the loveliest of the day.

So we were there for four hours in 12 degree temps in inappropriate clothing with an only child who was bored unless we kept handing him money for more bungee jumps, more chocolate strawberries, more snow cones and more squeezing of guinea pigs.  But it was great to be out of the house and lovely to be outdoors and it’s always good to support those who supply us with our food and drink, drink and drink.

I pray next year the weather is much better.

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  1. Glamorous Glutton says:

    That’s my kind of day!! Minus the cold of course. Tell me, what is ‘creamed honey’? Those strawberries are eeenormous. Way bigger than the strawberries we get here. GG

  2. Brrrr…I did my best not to leave the house over the weekend. But take comfort in the fact that it would’ve been even colder in Mudgee.

  3. Minnesota Prairie Roots says:

    So good to know I’m not the only one who buys wine because I like the name (or the bottle).

  4. 53F and you are in a parka? In one of the early picks I noticed a ski cap, but a parka? Ok … it’s obviously unseasonably cold that day, but a parka? Meanwhile, the dark reds look wonderful. Would have loved to have been there, but I would have been without a parka.

  5. Sounds like a great day! But, would have been much better in Summer…or at least not Winter! Those chocolate covered strawberries look divine, too, but $3.50?!?! I don’t like paying that for a punnet! The chocolate must have had gold in it 🙂

  6. Looks like you had the opportunity to try some really lovely wines. I love to go wine tasting! We usually do it in the summer months of course, but I don’t think I would mind it in the winter either. We just went on a trip where I stocked up on all kinds of Washington wines to take back east with us when we move, just to be told that the moving company won’t pack them. Guess they’ll be riding along with us!

  7. I was cold at the Eumundi food thing but it wasn’t as cold as you were. I think it was 18 but I was freezing. 🙂 There was a little boy helping his mother show that kids can cook food they grow. His name is Archie and he reminded me so much of your Archie from the photos I’ve seen.

  8. Come on Charlie, it was not so cold! I loved the first wine, such a lovely color, I wonder if I can find it here. The kids entertainment is anywhere hot in price matter.. Cheers! 🙂

  9. mjskit @ says:

    I’d be in a parka at 12 C also! That’s too cold for me. 🙂 Looks like a fun festival and I just love the wine glass holder. I have one like that for beer bottles and it say’s “How you gonna clap?” Got it at the New Orleans Jazz Fest – a festival about music and food.

  10. I just bought a new granny trolly this weekend too! Mine is hot pink! Sadly I chose a colour that JT will not want to use.
    That event looks like fun, even though the temperatures were too chilly. We had JTs company picnic on Saturday and it was equally as cloudy and almost as chilly. It was not fun. It was definitely not a foodie event (salad was a couple of plastic containers of pre-washed lettuce…that’s it. Nothing else). Of course, we had the mandatory burgers and dogs and fortunately they chose a brand that we design the packaging for, so we knew they would be good quality.
    I usually find your pricing in Australia quite expensive compared to Canada. I’m wondering what your minimum wage is, and if wages are higher to compensate the expenses.

  11. Jed Gray (sportsglutton) says:

    Never fun drinking when it is that cold outside, but at least some of the wine was already at the correct temp.

    Love that wine holder. Priceless!

  12. I want a spiffy granny trolley like that. Maybe in hot pink like Eva’s as the world needs to see me coming so they can get out of the way. 🙂

    I have metal only one (no bag) that I found in the great basement clean out 2 years ago. However, instead of using it to transport bottles of wine, I use it to lug the 20 kg bag of all purpose flour I buy periodically from the local Italian grocery store. I can get a charming young employee to take the bag to the car and place it in the trunk but haven’t managed to convince him to come home with me and take it into the house or basement. I even promised to bring him back. Where’s the service that stores used to give their costumers? (sigh)

    So many other tempting goodies … the honeycomb and the strawberries were particularly attractive though I woudn’t pay that kind of price for the latter but make them myself. 🙂

    Sorry about the cold weather. My SIL and I visited my mom’s new digs Sunday and they were having a luau themed bbq for lunch outside. After the last month of very warm weather, it was windy and cool yesterday. Not fur lined hood and jacket weather but still, cooler than I would have preferred.

  13. I’ve been there a couple of years ago. We got glasses as well. It was amazing, but warmer 🙂

  14. Choc Chip Uru says:

    Seems like such a fun time my friend 😀
    Can’t say I know much about wines except for that the bottle is pretty or the colour is nice but those chocolate covered strawberries look fabulous 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  15. Those strawberries look enormous Charlie, and that round the neck glass holder looks like a really cool invention :D. Great trip Charlie, looks fun!

  16. Victoria at Flavors of the Sun says:

    Looks like a great day for all, in spite of the weather. My husband says I am always inadequately clad. That’s because I was born and raised in Florida, or so I think. You make me want to make some gozleme right now. Yum.

  17. InTolerantChef says:

    Oh you sooky Sydneysiders 🙂 Our farmers markets are only open until 11 AM so you have to get up waaay to early for a Saturday, and winter mornings in Canberra are COLD and frosty, and you have to scrape ice off your windscreen, and you have a husband who refuses to pull a granny trolley even though they are cool, and a few glasses of wine would sure thaw you out in minus 4* and even that Guinea pig you mentioned would be handy stuffed in a pocket as a hand warmer. Lucky the produce is so great it makes getting up early all worth while- but I’d still like a glass of wine or two 🙂 xox

  18. You look so cold in that photo, Charlie! Weather aside, this does look like a great event to attend. You adults tasted a little wine and Alfie had a great day. I must say, though, if we in Chicago have a 50˚ day in winter, there’ll be people on the lakeside jogging paths wearing shorts. I’ve always contended that they are, in fact, freezing, but they’re just too stubborn to admit it.

  19. Caitlin @livelovenyc says:

    this looks like the most magical place on earth! wine, little goats, chocolate covered strawberries and people who hold their wine glasses around their necks? amazing

  20. Looks like fun, cold fun, but fun all the same;-) I need a granny trolley to complete my ‘look’ at the evening farmers market, now I’m on the hunt for one!

  21. Claire @ Claire K Creations says:

    You were definitely dressed the part Charlie. I have to say… I now have a craving for chocolate coated strawberries. Nom nom nom

  22. Looks like you guys had a great time despite the cool weather. Some of my favorite wines come from Australia and I can’t wait to visit there someday. My favorite wine is Pike’s Shiraz from Clare Valley..I am pretty sure if I ever visited that winery it wouldn’t end well! Ha! 😉

  23. I agree: wrong place, wrong time! Mudgee is not so far to travel and why not about March? That said you look quite appropriately dressed and very attractive and no doubt have the lovely glow, since there is a certain visibly empty glass in your hand 🙂 ! But oh gosh, oh golly: I prefer my Southern Highlands for the prices!!

  24. I love the title of this post! Nothing like a glass of red wine or two to warm you up! I really must find one of those wine glass carriers 🙂

  25. Juliet Batten says:

    How odd to hold this event in August! It could be so much more fun if the weather was mellow.

  26. This had me laughing from start to finish 🙂 I am sorry you were so cold though!

  27. Mandy - The Complete Cook Book says:

    You are braver than I Charlie – not sure I would be happy to venture out for 4 hours in that weather. Ours is equally as bad at the moment so I have stuck to drinking my wine indoors.
    🙂 Mandy

  28. Looks like a fun event, it’s a pity about the weather though. Those strawberries look fantastic. It doesn’t get any better than wine and chocolate coated strawberries 😀

  29. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    Ouchies! It sounds very cold, especially where it was located (just down the road from where we used to live-memories!).

  30. Hahahahahah – You are way too funny (with or without alcohol), Charlie! Some of my favourite things featured in this post, and I’m not talking guinea pigs or bungee jumps!

  31. Joanne @ Eats Well With Others says:

    Well if you’re going to have a hangover, this seems like an awesome way to lead up to it!

  32. Splendid work, thanks Charlie. It takes dedication to push through that weather barrier to bring us your reviews – and we’re grateful. 🙂

  33. Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake says:

    It’s been freezing here in Melbourne as well, but you look well rugged up. 😀 I love markets like these, I’m always like a little kid when I see things I like, although I’m not much of a wine drinker so I’d probably skip right over to the strawberries and petting zoo. 😛 Yes at almost 29, I’m still petting animals…..

  34. Pure Complex says:

    Awww you looked adorable in your coat :). And I love those strawberries and the wine around the neck.. perfect!

  35. justonecookbook says:

    Ohhh looks so cold! I certainly don’t miss the cold SF’s fall/winter/spring and we’re approaching to fall… LOL. My husband would love this kind of wine event and I think about finding the wine glass holder for him for parties and events too. Teehee. I hope I can find it somewhere online. That’s a great invention. Just hope that he won’t spill on shirt. xD My kids love petting animals while I stay away a few meters away….hehheh.

  36. I was almost drunk just to look at the pictures of the wines heheheh…it sure sounds a fun event…although I do not get along with cold weather 🙂
    Thanks for sharing this pictures and stay warm Charlie!

  37. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    I am surprised you didn’t try bungee jumping yourself after a few “tastes” of wine. Might have warmed you up!

  38. says:

    Dear Charlie,

    l love the Mudgee wine festival and yes, can I have another Farmer’s daughter please? 🙂 Thankfully it was great weather the years that we went down to Balmoral. The gozleme and hotdogs are great when hunger pangs strike although I think the food there is more secondary where all the wines are on show like you said. You in that outfit look awesome and a lot more attractive than what you have described!

  39. Daisy@Nevertoosweet says:

    Morning Charlie 🙂 wow this looks like a great festival hehe all the wine ~ i love going to all these festivals and eating and drinking my way through all the stalls 🙂 but having said that wow $3.5 for one chocolate coated strawberry that does sound/seem a little expensive!!! Looks delicious though hehe

  40. What fun! This sounds like just the kind of day Mike and I would love. We actually did a similar tasting (although on a smaller scale) over the weekend. Very fun! And Alfie’s bungee jump looks like a blast! Mr. N would be in heaven with that – doubt we’d ever get him down.

  41. WOW! This is great post dear Charlie. What a beautiful day… yes, seems so cold but just I can feel the warmness and the ambience of the day through your amazing photographs. The Alfie’s choice is super, should be delicious too… But animals to touch fascinated me too and also wine glass holder 🙂 amazing… Shiraz is my favorite, and you are so lovely… Thank you dear Charlie, love, nia

  42. yummychunklet says:

    What a fun looking time! And, I know that more drinking is in order when you have a hangover…

  43. Barb Bamber says:

    Wow.. this post brings back memories of our winters.. er, fall season when we’re out in parkas.. it’s just around the corner for us!! Aaargh!!

  44. sounds like an amazing day out! I can’t wait till our food fair comes to town!

  45. I loved this post, Charlie! I could feel the cold, though. I am sure the wine was eagerly consumed just to warm you up. I chuckle at the idea of Alfie being your “only” child because you so rarely see the teens! That’s really is so funny–and so true! The wines are beautiful and your photos were just great. I especially liked the gorgeous color pink in the “Well Mannered” wine. It would be fun for me to see if any of these are distributed here. I’m going to check! 🙂

  46. Pity it was such a windy and cold day!!

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