Where to begin? I suppose I should start by telling you a little bit about myself. As you may know, if you bothered to read the 'about me' section to the website, but for those of you who didn't, I'll reiterate it. My name is Ben Oliphant-Thompson, I'm 19 and have just come home from 5 months travelling to a new home that I had never seen before actually stepping into it after coming back from the airport. Who needs to actually know where they are moving house to right? And thank God I didn't have to get involved with the whole moving in process... one of the perks of chilling on a beach in 35 degree heat in Australia in January rather than struggle, lifting heavy objects into a bare house all afternoon. Whilst Travelling I was lucky enough to experience so many of the things I went out there to do. A quick run through of the highlights won't harm:
Climbed the Sydney harbour bridge.
Hired a campervan and road tripped the east coast of Australia (Sydney to Brisbane)
Drove 4x4's in a 3 day expedition over Fraser Island.
Experienced New years eve at Surfer's Paradise.
Watched a Big bash cricket game.
Skydived over Airlie beach.
Sailed on a racing yacht through the Whitsunday islands - and experienced an abandon ship scenario as our captain crashed it into a reef...
Swam with turtles.
Watched a polo game in Auckland - definitely more of a social experience, go there if you want to drink and not actually pay that much attention to the game...
Dined at the Orbit 360 degree spinning restaurant in the Auckland Tower.
Trekked through Glow worm caves in Waitomo.
Did the 134m Nevis bungee jump in Queenstown - yes I got the T-shirt, been there done that.
Went on the (https://www.shotoverjet.com) Shotover jet boat in Queenstown.
Rode the Hydroattack submergible craft in Queenstown.
Had a FERGBURGER! in Queenstown.
Rode Elephants in Bali.
Visited the monkey temple in Bali.
Saw the Phi Phi islands by traditional longboat.
Experienced a full moon party.
Went to Bangkok for Songkran, Thai New Years festival (basically just a massive 3 day water fight!)
Stroked a Tiger (They are fucking massive!)
Rode a Tuk Tuk of course.
And those were just some of the highlights, I've put the video up in the video section, for those of you who are planning on going travelling Its well worth a look. One thing I will say about travelling is prepare for things to go wrong, they just will and that's half the fun. Out of the 5 of us that went, one lost his wallet and phone not once but twice... and had to have replacements both times. One got his wallet stolen and I apparently just decided to leave mine in Queenstown. Also how ever much money you think is enough... bring more! The reality is you don't have enough. We learnt this the hard way and ended up staying in some pretty dodgy places in Thailand, which of course we will say was all part of the experience, but in fact was just shit. I will put up another article about my Top 10 travel tips for those of you who are interested.
Anyway I've gone a little off topic, although the title of the article is 'Inspiration' I suppose my travelling is part of my inspiration to undertake the challenge we as a family are about to undertake and it's down to that desire to try something new. After coming back from travelling I needed something different, something completely new and exciting to me and this is exactly that.
We live on what was previously a commercial vineyard. And so long story short, we as a family, knowing absolutely nothing about wine other than the fact that we like to drink it, have decided to restore this estate to its glory days and once more become a fully functioning vineyard. It's going to be a serious undertaking and so I enrolled in several intensive courses in winemaking and vine growing to try and give myself a better appreciation for what we are attempting to do. Anyone reading this who is thinking about learning more about wine, even if its just as a hobby, I would seriously recommend doing some of the intensive 1 week courses at Plumpton college, the level of detail in which they cover topics is exceptional and has really helped me with my learning.
I've always thought the idea of having my own drinks brand was seriously cool and that was mainly down to the likes of Red Bull. The way they market their products through all of these extreme sports ventures really appeals to me and is something I want for myself. Making wine and making energy drinks and then marketing them are two very different beasts however, but it is a real ambition of mine to bring this sort of adventure philosophy into the realm of wine. When was the last time you saw an advertisement or promotion video for wine that wasn't anything other than a slow motion pour, evocative music and scenes of people smiling... I'll tell you, you didn't! And so this is something I'm now very passionate about changing, my head is full with so many ideas about adventure expeditions through the likes of South America for example, visiting vineyards and wineries and promoting our product through adventure.
Of course, however, I'm getting ahead of myself. We actually need a product first and so this blog is going to be the story of how we eventually make that product and everything else that happens in between. Don't get me wrong this will not just be about wine and viticulture but any adventure/project/interesting thing in my life. Whether this be about Travel, Rugby or the drinks industry. So if you like any and all of these things, you're in the right place!
Cheers, until next time!