Bibliophile | Thirty Thousand Bottles of Wine and a Pig Called Helga

Thirty Thousand Bottles of Wine and a Pig Called Helga
By Todd Alexander
Simon & Schuster Australia

Todd and Jeff had had enough of the city. Todd was a high-flying marketing executive “living the classic city lifestyle of hard work and even harder play”. He lived with Jeff, who worked for a cancer charity, in an apartment overlooking Elizabeth Bay in Sydney with all of Maggie Beer’s cookbooks.

The couple socialized with best friend Mel and her husband Jesus (pronounced hey-zeus) and after a disastrous holiday in the Barossa Valley, Todd and Jeff decided that they could do much better. They also realized that Sydney wasn’t the only place on the planet that they could be happy.

Wanting a slice of Maggie Beer’s life, they researched extensively for the right property but ended up in the Hunter Valley rather than the Barossa Valley. The large property had 15000 grape vines, over 1000 olive trees and a run-down house, and the intrepid couple soon regretted posing the question – “How hard can it be?”

Well, Todd suggests that you could insert a subtitle to this not-so-perfect tree change – “How two gay guys bought a hundred acres and thought they could manage with an electric mower and a pair of garden shears”.

It is such a marvelous story of how they supported each other and had the support of an army of friends to turn their dream into a reality. I loved every moment of how they learnt from their many mistakes and never lost sight of the dream “that was to require more blood, sweat and tears than they could possibly have imagined”. By the way, Maggie Beer loved the book as well.

Todd, who has been writing for more than twenty years, says at the beginning of the book – “If you’d said to me ten years ago that one day I’d be taking two goats and a hefty, headstrong sow for a walk, I would have told you to stop smoking crack.”

There is so much humour and heart to this journey that you might even want to pay a visit to Todd and Jeff’s boutique vineyard and chalets at Block Eight in the Hunter Valley. Catch up with their adventurous tree change with this book and check out their website for a more personal catch up.

Lezly Herbert

Tags: , , , ,

You must be logged in to post a comment Login