We felt incredibly fortunate to have around sixty people descend on Block Eight for two days of hard yakka, amazing food, great conversation and good times. With 15 acres of vines to prune, it was no walk in the park but thanks to the generosity of friends and family we were very pleased to have completed the pruning of all vines in just two days. This is in stark contrast to last year when poor Jeff and our friends Ron & Merv were up in the vines day after day for what felt like months to complete the task. Complaints about sore hands, cold limbs and aching backs were kept to a minimum because you all just got on with it and we’re so grateful… and sharing a beer in the vines at dusk on day one was a special memory (Vicky’s insistence on that one paid off!) The 2014 Prune Off was therefore an extraordinarily successful event and we look forward to how our pruners’ hard work will translate into what is already shaping up to be an incredible 2015 vintage. We hope to see each and every one of you back next year for what promises to be a bigger, better event!
This blog also marks the launch of our new website – designed by the incredibly talented folk at pixel eight. It is launched with the approval of our liquor licence (finally!) so we can now begin selling our delicious wine. It came just in time as we bottle our Estate Semillon this week… slightly sweeter than the Reserve and designed to be drunk now, we think this is the perfect Sunday arvo tipple with mates. Speaking of mates, we’ve also launched our Mates of Block Eight club… a quarterly subscription of $135 gets you 24 bottles of wine per year, free postage on all wine orders and 15% off additional wine orders and accommodation bookings. Plus, last minute deals and discounts exclusive to our mates. If you sign up by the end of September, one person will also receive six additional bottles of wine for free. That’s just the way we like to treat our mates.
Of course, building websites and pruning around 12,000 vines is not enough to keep us busy. We have been putting the finishing touches on our shed conversion luxury villa – now known as Orchard View. To think that the process of converting the shed began almost twelve months ago and now here we are and the space (as most of you who visited during the prune off can attest) is a beautifully luxurious one. From the full sized kitchen and dining table to the king sized bed, under floor bathroom heating, reverse cycle air conditioning… to the reading nook and private deck, sighs of jealousy could be heard throughout the prune off at Cheryl who got to christen the villa that weekend while others had to contend with tents and air mattresses! Still, we think Cheryl a worthy choice for the christening as she not only kept us all fed throughout the prune off, but also puts Todd up in Sydney two nights per week. Sure, you’re all amazing friends and workers but you can’t argue that Cheryl got the royal treatment. Maybe next prune off we will hold a lottery draw?
In other Block Eight news we were delighted to welcome Laverne & Shirley to the chicken coop. Inherited from one of our builders whose dog wouldn’t leave them alone, another two chooks really spiced up the pecking order. The roost is exclusively reserved for the four original black chooks but Shirley soon forced her way in (she is the biggest chook after all). It’s quite amazing that Laverne, brown like Lizzie & Bea, has been relegated to a bottom rung. We haven’t done our research but surely it can’t be a coincidence that the birds are sticking with those of their own hue. Todd came across our first duck egg the other week, still warm and plonked near the ducks’ feeding bin. We wish we could say it was delicious but unfortunately it was confused with the hen eggs so one of our lucky pruners had it as part of Cheryl’s incredible baked egg dish on the final lunch. We eagerly look for more but fear the goannas get them before we have the chance to.
A new Block Eight sign now greets our guests when they arrive. It was another important step in our becoming a bona fide business rather than just the dream of two city slickers. Stationery will soon follow and we look forward to the Block Eight staff shirts shortly after that. The bush villa (Barrington View) is now at lock up and we hope to have that finished in the next few months. As it all comes together the scale of the cabins can now be fully appreciated and we’re pleased that our aim to make them feel luxurious is well on track. The arrival of the first water tank this week really adds to the bush feel of them and we can’t wait to open another villa to guests.