Old Vine Studio is located on the outer edge of the historic township of Penola, South Australia, and has a view over vineyards which are part of the Internationally acclaimed Coonawarra Wine Region. Within walking distance are the Cellar Doors of award winning Wineries. The Coonawarra is especially famous for it's complex, full fruit, herbaceous, premium red wines and the region also produces some stunning white and sparkling wine. It is a cool climate region and the wines may be cellared for long periods. A unique quality of the wines from this region is that they have outstanding balance, achieved from skilled wine making and the exceptional quality of the fruit has meant that wines are produced that can be enjoyed while still young but also as they age and gather more depth and their own unique history while maintaining essence of the fruit.
Penola has an extraordinary history for a small Australian town.
It appears to have inspired people to do outstanding, highly creative and adventurous things, although I am sure people who live here think of Penola as nothing out of the ordinary, it is after all to them their home and to many a small country town that happens to be full of stories.
Original Owners are acknowledged by me as the Buandig people. Their history stretches back through time at least 10,00 years.
This is a list of some of the people you may know of.
Saint Mary Mackillop (Australia's First Saint and a very determined independent and tough woman whose dedication to educate children especially the poor, is worthy of recognition apart from her Sainthood)
Geologist, Explorer, and Priest, Father J. Tennyson Woods
Poets, Adam Lindsey Gordon, John Shaw Neilson & Will Ogilvie
Farmer and Pioneer settler and Politician, John Riddoch
Writers, Sarah Douglas & Peter Goldsworthy
Adventurer & Explorer, John Riddoch Rymill
The region has a unique geological history with Limestone a feature, creating fascinating sinkholes and cave systems to explore, including the World Heritage Naracoorte Caves. Wetlands and abundant food attracts migratory birds from great distances. The region has a diverse natural environment and it is common to see animals including Kangaroo, Wallaby, Echidna, Wombats, Possums and Bats. Birds including Emus are seen often and our town gardens are the homes of beautiful Wrens, Parrots and Cockatoos, Masked Lapwings (plovers) Honeyeaters and many more. Magpies and Crows, Owls, Hawkes and Eagles, Kites and even the Peregrine. The bird population is so very rich and diverse
The town of Penola, Coonawarra Wine Region and the Limestone Coast attracts visitors and travellers from all over the world. It is a perfect place to be working and have a studio.
Named perhaps from one of the oldest vines I know of in Penola. It has been growing next to the oldest section of our historic cottage which is now a beautiful ruin. It is believed to have been planted in the mid 1870s and the grapes, if and when we do get some, taste extraordinarily sweet. We are carefully taking some cuttings to plant by my studio so this old vine keeps it's roots in our soil!
Vines inspire and fascinate me as they can grow and explore and take risks yet stay firmly on their roots deep into our terra rosa soil. I think of old vines as carrying a certain wisdom and an ancient dialogue. The colours of vines are a constant source of inspiration as they go from bursting buds to spring green young leaves to rich summer green and to the richness of their Autumn colours and then finally bare their bare brown and grey structures.
Every year when I prune the vines around our garden I make wreaths, even if these are for no other purpose than to hang around my garden. I always feel that this vine has worked so hard to grow these wonderful tendrils reaching out making such a statement to then throw them way seems too terrible. It is my way of respecting the vine and thanking it for all it gives and rewards me with. An annual memorial that then can return to the earth in it's own time. I do though keep some to decorate they are a constant reminder of the seasons to me and hold so much beauty in their structure.