You may have heard of the term ‘Sea Change’ or even ‘Tree Change’, but we took a different route in 2016 and opted for a ‘Vine Change’.
Our Vine Change story started back in 2011, when Kerrie (my now wife) organised a five-day break from our busy Melbourne lives. She knew I was a huge fan of Barossa Shiraz, so it made sense that a holiday in one of the world’s great wine regions was the perfect gift.
During our five-day holiday, we immersed ourselves in the wine, food and enjoyed such an easy-going, relaxed break that we started a tradition of returning each year.
We even honeymooned in the Barossa when we married!
Barossa – love of good food, wine and company
Over those few short years, our love for the Barossa grew and grew. Not just because of the fabulous wines, but we quickly acquired a wonderful group of Barossa friends most of whom are winemakers or associated with the wine or food industry.
We couldn’t help ourselves – good food, good wine and good company are important to us.
Each year when we visited, we had a lot of catching up to do.
Thankfully, we could reunite, wine and dine at award winning restaurants such as Fermentasian, Vintners, Hentley Farm and the Rockford Lunch.
After our Barossa breaks, we would slowly roll back into Victoria re-energised to tackle our busy lives.
2015 was the turning point.
We sold our house and were at a loss with what to do next. After being in our respective professions of a building carpenter and surgical nurse, we wanted to try something different.
So of course, we looked towards our beloved Barossa.
The first idea was to purchase a small bed and breakfast we could run from Melbourne and use when whenever we wished to indulge in the Barossa delights and catch up with new friends.
We started looking at properties, but none fit our requirements.
Then one Saturday night, we received a text from Matt at Whistler Wines. He mentioned his parents were thinking of selling Whistler Farm.
We flew back to Barossa and within 15 minutes of walking through the front door at Whistler Farm, we were shaking hands and toasting to our new home.
Chris and Jayne Pfeiffer continued to double check months later that we were still wanting to buy. The settlement took around 4 months.
Our intention was to move to the Barossa a few years later while Chris and Jayne managed the farm and accommodation side of the business.
However, sitting in peak hour traffic in 2016, Kerrie spoke the words we both knew were right – “why don’t we just make the move now instead of a few years’ time?”
To my recollection, I replied quickly, yet seemingly nonchalantly – “ok”.
Chris and Jayne managed things for us while they built a new house. Then in November 2016 our Vine Change finally took shape.
We packed our two boys – Ted and Chilli plus our belongings and moved to the Barossa.
Our boys love their daily walks in the neighbouring towns and have settled into a routine of an hour walk in the morning, sleep the afternoon away and if energy is high, an occasional bark at our crazy geese busily chasing our sheep.
Welcome to life on a small farm!
As our property is on 42 acres and is segmented into numerous paddocks for a menagerie of horses, sheep, alpacas, chooks and geese, Kerrie decided the simplest and most obvious name for the property was The Paddocks.
The name suits us and our lifestyle perfectly.
Today in the Barossa
We couldn’t be happier with our Vine Change. Life in the Barossa affords us great friends, great food and great wine and everything is so close and definitely – no peak hour traffic!
And when opportunity knocks, we know to open the door.
We have even started a small wine label with friends. The first vintage of “The Beautiful Man Shiraz” a tongue in cheek name, will be bottled in September 2018.
It’s a tranquil, relaxed lifestyle and better yet, we get to showcase it to our guests when they visit us at The Paddocks. We just love promoting our new home to guests when they stay at our self-contained luxury suites.
So if you’re looking for a holiday in one of Australia’s great wine regions, renowned for its food and wine and easy-going lifestyle, feel free to visit with us at The Paddocks.
Spence & Kerrie