Distractions, reflections

David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders

2009/07/18-19 New England Highway (Brisbane-Hunter Valley), Cruickshank Estates, Eastwood

After the week in Brisbane, we loaded up the minivan for our drive back to Sydney to catch our flight back to Canada. We had taken the drive north along the coastal route over three days. For a change of scenery, we planned the drive south on the inland route, over two days. The New England Highway is a two lane highway, with only a few major settlements between Brisbane and Sydney. Driving past farms and pastures, the altitude gradually rose.

di_20090717-210910-newenglandhwy-road-mountain.jpg

Stopping overnight in Armidale, we were rudely reminded that July is Australian winter, with an overnight temperature below freezing. From the middle of the Northern Tablelands, the second day of driving through mountain ranges, leading to gradual descent.

di_20090718-004002-newenglandhwy-plateau-truck.jpg

We were making good time on the second day. I calculated that if we aimed for one of the most northmost wineries in the Upper Hunter Valley, we could arrive in time for a 2 p.m. tour. A brief stop at the Muswellbrook Visitor Information Centre clarified directions to Cruickshank Callatoota Estates, since they had moved within the previous year. Off the main roads onto side roads, we navigated up a long drive to find a modest operation, with a small tasting building.

di_20090718-231620-cruickshank-tasting-building.JPG

We were welcomed by one of the partners of the estate, who said that the scheduled time was just for publication, and tours can be given on request. He explained that the business is essentially run by two partners year-round, with itinerant help to work the land, and bring in the grapes at harvest time. The winemaking process begins with grape vines run through a destemmer.

di_20090718-232434-cruickshank-destemmer.JPG

When the harvest is brought into the main processing building, the grapes are put into a press where the juice is separated from the skins.

di_20090718-233214-cruickshank-press.JPG

Fermentation happens in stainless steel tanks, followed by aging in oak casks.

di_20090718-232702-cruickshank-casks-tanks.JPG

Wines styled with less of an oak flavour are matured in larger casks.

di_20090718-234006-cruickshank-oak-cask.JPG

The mechanics of bottling are straightforward, although the speed would be amazing.

di_20090718-234244-cruickshank-bottling-line.JPG

The resulting bottles still needed labels to be applied.

di_20090718-234410-cruickshank-bottles-unlabelled.JPG

At the completion of the tour, tasting was to be provided by the other partner. Cruickshank Estates bottles both red and white wines, with many varieties winning awards. They have a reputation as “no headache” wines, as the amount of sulfites used in the process is low.

di_20090718-234910-cruickshank-wine-display.JPG

I was surprised at the high quality of the cabernet sauvignon. Since Ontario is of the world’s largest importers of French wine, I asked if Cruickshank wines would be available back home. He said, no, that he didn’t like the price that the importers would pay. Most of the wine is sold and consumed in Australia.

di_20090719-000446-cruickshank-pouring.JPG

While tasting wines, we had a revealing conversation.

Cruickshank: What are you doing in the area?

Me: We’re returning from a conference in Brisbane.

Cruickshank: What kind of conference?

Me (thinking that my interests are really obscure): Systems science.

Cruickshank: I know the man who invented system science!

Me (in disbelief): Really?

Cruickshank: Sure. Russ Ackoff. I’ve known him for decades.

It turns out that the winery is a superannuity fund for retirement. John Cruickshank had a prior career as a management consultant in Australia, and thus had become good friends with Ackoff on tours of the southern hemisphere. He said that he would mention me to Russ in his next letter.

We also heard the story of the winery being moved. Strip coal mining is a big business in Australia, and Cruickshank got an offer for his property. Rather than fighting the mining companies, he chose to negotiate a price so that he could relocate the winery and start over.

di_20090718-232056-cruickshank-vines.JPG

From Denham, there was a choice of two routes to Sydney: (i) southeast to Newcastle and then southwest near the coast on the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway, or (ii) directly south to Sydney. Having taking the first route on our way north, I chose the second for our way south. This is how we discovered why tourists are generally advised to take the main roads.

The New England Highway had been a two lane road, so I didn’t anticipate that the road could be much worse. Driving south from Wollombi, we were probably on stretches of the convict-built Great North Road, by Yengo National Park. I was amused when we crossed a temporary wooden bridge across a brook. Then we crossed another temporary bridge … and another. We started driving up and down narrow roads on hills — in a minivan with right hand drive! When the pavement stopped and we were on a dirt road, I wondered if we should turn back. We then encountered a blind curve on an uphill incline with only one lane, and had to pull over to let trucks going the other direction pass. I didn’t know exactly how far we had to go, but as we found ourselves on a paved road along a ridge and could see the mountains to the west and the sea coast in the distance to the east, so we continued in a southward direction.

With the sun setting, we followed signs back to the Freeway, and rejoined the multi-lane traffic. We thought that we would have an easy route back to Macquarie Park, but ended up in a traffic jam for an hour. At the end of a school holiday weekend, perhaps the mountain route had been the right — if nerve-wracking — choice.

After checking into the hotel, our family was famished. I had read about a Korean community nearby in Eastwood, so we drove over to find Torin.

di_20090719-053724-eastwood-torin.JPG

We ordered the largest sushi tray available as an appetizer to a variety of Korean dishes.

di_20090719-050600-eastwood-torin-sushi.JPG

The Korean shops are in a few short blocks, so strolled around looking at windows at night.

di_20090719-053738-eastwood-korean-shops.JPG

The drive from Brisbane to Sydney is long, and our sons were especially patient in riding in a minivan packed with luggage. With planning and good luck, the journey added to our memories of family time together.

[Start a large-image lightbox screen show over this blog post (in a supported browser)]

[See the webphotos album for the first day on the New England Highway (with a slideshow option)]

[See the webphotos album for the second day on the New England Highway (with a slideshow option)]

[See the webphotos album for Cruickshank Callatoota Estates (with a slideshow option)]

[See the webphotos album for Eastwood (with a slideshow option)]

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • RSS on Coevolving

    • Causal Texture of the Environment
      For those who haven’t read the 1965 Emery and Trist article, its seems as though my colleague Doug McDavid was foresighted enough to blog a summary in 2016!  His words have always welcomed here, as Doug was a cofounder of this web site.  At the time of writing, the target audience for this piece was […]
    • Causal texture, contextualism, contextural
      In the famous 1965 Emery and Trist article, the terms “causal texture” and “contextual environment” haven’t been entirely clear to me.  With specific meanings in the systems thinking literature, looking up definitions in the dictionary generally isn’t helpful.  Diving into the history of the uses of the words provides some insight. 1. Causal texture 2. […]
    • Trist in Canada, Organizational Change, Action Learning
      Towards appreciating “action learning”, the history of open systems thinking and pioneering work in organization science, the influence of Action Learning Group — in the Faculty of Environment Studies founded in 1968 at York University (Toronto) — deserves to be resurfaced. 1. Trist in Canada 2. Environmental studies, and contextualism in organizational-change 3. Action learning, […]
    • Remembering Doug McDavid
      The news that Doug McDavid — my friend, colleague, and one of the original cofounders of the Coevolving Innovations web site in 2006 — had passed, first came through mutual IBM contacts.  More details subsequently showed up on LinkedIn from Mike McClintock. Doug left us on May 9, while working at his desk, likely in […]
    • Pattern language, form language, general systems theory, R-theory
      One of the challenges with the development of pattern languages is the cross-appropriation of approaches of techniques from one domain (i.e. built physical environments) into others (e.g. software development, social change). The distinction between pattern language and form language is made by Nikos Salingaros. Design in architecture and urbanism is guided by two distinct complementary […]
    • How do Systems Changes become natural practice?
      The 1995 article by Spinosa, Flores & Dreyfus on “Disclosing New Worlds” was assigned reading preceding the fourth of four lectures for the Systemic Design course in the Master’s program in Strategic Foresight and Innovation at OCAD University.  In previous years, this topic was a detail practically undiscussed, as digging into social theory and the phenomenology […]
  • RSS on Media Queue

  • RSS on Ing Brief

    • Wholism, reductionism (Francois, 2004)
      Proponents of #SystemsThinking often espouse holism to counter over-emphasis on reductionism. Reading some definitions from an encyclopedia positions one in the context of the other (François 2004).
    • It matters (word use)
      Saying “it doesn’t matter” or “it matters” is a common expression in everyday English. For scholarly work, I want to “keep using that word“, while ensuring it means what I want it to mean. The Oxford English Dictionary (third edition, March 2001) has three entries for “matter”. The first two entries for a noun. The […]
    • Systemic Change, Systematic Change, Systems Change (Reynolds, 2011)
      It's been challenging to find sources that specifically define two-word phrases -- i.e. "systemic change", "systematic change", "systems change" -- as opposed to loosely inferring reductively from one-word definitions in recombination. MartinReynolds @OpenUniversity clarifies uses of the phrases, with a critical eye into motives for choosing a specific label, as well as associated risks and […]
    • Environmental c.f. ecological (Francois, 2004; Allen, Giampietro Little 2003)
      The term "environmental" can be mixed up with "ecological", when the meanings are different. We can look at the encyclopedia definitions (François 2004), and then compare the two in terms of applied science (i.e. engineering with (#TimothyFHAllen @MarioGiampietro and #AmandaMLittle, 2003).
    • Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language: Analysing, Mapping and Classifying the Critical Response | Dawes and Ostwald | 2017
      While many outside of the field of architecture like the #ChristopherAlexander #PatternLanguage approach, it's not so well accepted by his peers. A summary of criticisms by #MichaelJDawes and #MichaelJOstwald @UNSWBuiltEnv is helpful in appreciating when the use of pattern language might be appropriate or not appropriate.
    • Field (system definitions, 2004, plus social)
      Systems thinking should include not only thinking about the system, but also its environment. Using the term "field" as the system of interest plus its influences leaves a lot of the world uncovered. From the multiple definitions in the International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics , there is variety of ways of understanding "field".
  • Meta

  • Translate

  • 
  • moments. daviding.com

    Random selections from the past year
  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
    Theme modified from DevDmBootstrap4 by Danny Machal