In movies, vineyards are places where beautiful and successful people go to relax, find themselves and maybe even fall in love. The idea of working in a vineyard therefore seemed appealing to me. I wanted to walk amongst sunbathing vines in a never-ending landscape. Have a sip of wine and laughingly stomp grapes in a tub just like they do in the movies. The art of making wine however, is far from glamorous.
|Sunset at popular Yallingup beach|
I signed up with the AHA (Australian Horticulture Association), one of many agencies that organize work on vineyards in the area. Fortunately for me the picking season had just started and I was one of the first to sign up. After some weeks the agencies' lists were so full that it was nearly impossible to get work. I stayed at Dunsborough beach house with a gazillion other vineyard- working backpackers, and caught a ride with a German couple who had their own car. (Unless you have access to a car in Australia, it's really difficult to get farm work.)
Most grapes are picked by machine so there wasn't more than one or two times a week hand-picking grapes. There was however a lot of work preparing the vines for picking. It was really hard, disgusting and messy work! All in all, it's safe to say that the movie myth is definitely busted. A sip of wine will never be the same.
What I remember best from Margaret River was the incredibly early mornings(we started at 6.00 every morning), driving to work. The drive from Dunsborough to the different vineyards we worked at was the high point of the day. Field after field was crowded with kangaroos waking up to the sunrise. Picture perfect sunrise- making the sky a gorgeous pink.(Sad to say I don't have photos.)
Yallingup, about 8 km from Dunsborough was the closest beach with surfing-waves. The beach in Dunsborough is ideal if you want to have a relaxing swim in clean, clear water. At some point a cyclone was raging up north, which created a bit of a stir down south as well. The surf that day was actually so good, and this is my impression of all surfers in Australia, that they quit early or didn't come in for work at all.
|Surf so fantastic it's enough to take the day off for.|
|Cooling off after a warm day at Yallingup beach|
|Ominous sky at Yallingup|
|Idyllic a little walk away from Dunsborough|