A little known fact: low-blood sugar often acts as an inhibitor for the intake of wine or other spirits. It's a bummer, but... one learns to live with it. So today, I learn vicariously to appreciate the bouquet, the aroma of vintage wines from Alison Hayek, partner-owner (with her husband, Ray) of Jubilee Vineyard Estate.

 On this spring morning in Ebenezer, the vines are lush and green, leaves bursting into full display while petite tendrils wrap themselves around posts, wire or nails.  As we walk through the vineyards,  Alison, in her unique style, an individualised and very personal way,  introduces us to two wines. The two samplings react to our hands and the warming sun as we talk and walk down hill toward the lagoon.

Earlier in the Cellar Door, I have taken notes as she talked about the process and affects of soil, weather and choice of timber upon the wine. Wine Appreciation 101. The knowledge is intellectually fascinating,  but it is the visceral experience as we walk through the vineyards that brings such joy. The sun's warmth, the light breeze and the "ah ha" moment as I lightly inhale first one, then the second -- the senses are in full control.  Without a taste of either wine, I discern the aroma of each. Voila! What an experience.

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Hello World from the beautiful villages of Hawkesbury, Australia. Each week, we will post information about fun activities in the Hawkesbury.

As the Hawkesbury and Baulkham Shires border each other, we look at the entire area as a series of villages -- most are relatively small, others an attraction along stunning and quiet rural roads. Starting in the mountains and along the famous Bells Line of Road, we begin with  Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens (gorgeous) and we include Kurrajong Heights (watch the curves) and Kurrajong Village (so charming).

At the edge of Penrith, off Castlereagh Road wonderful activities are available, so we've constructed a village concept of the Penrith Valley.

Now in the Riverland (has been known to flood)  along King Road and Tizzana Road, Wilberforce and Ebenezer villages are known mostly to locals, but the attractions are terrific (great vineyards).

We include Rouse Hill historical attractions on Windsor Road and Sunnyholt Road (Featherdale Wildlife Park). We end our villages at the river, Wisemans Ferry, just a kilometer to the ferry and on the way to surprisingly charming Spencer.

We know these back country roads well and our advice: "get up & get out in the Hawkesbury" -- exciting river activities or laid-back cool mountain gardens: quiet, occasionally solitary and always beautiful. You won't be disappointed!  Take a look at www.villagesofhawkesbury.com and you'll find activities to interest most all.

For our initial post, we'd like to share some very good news from Muru Mittigar Aboriginal Cultural Centreon Old Castlereagh Road (Penrith). The first Aboriginal Money Mentors Network was launched just days ago (Oct 29) and is supported by National Australia Bank (NAB). The Network will provide financial information and practical assistance to Indigenous Australians. A mentor is on site and the Network looks to improve money management skills and financial literacy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities using culturally appropriate materials and education techniques.  Meli Malani, CEO is quite proud of this new program as it has helped staff members already. 

Muru Mittigar has undergone some physical changes in 2010 -- beautifully painted native animals perch upon the fences welcoming you to Muru and adding to the ambience of a well-kept cultural centre.  In the coming weeks, we'll write about a new education program planned by Muru Mittigar -- one that teachers will welcome for future school field trips. Congratulations, Muru Mittigar for a great effort.

See you next week!

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