By Julia Burke, Niagara Escarpment Correspondent

Editor's Note: Julia left for South Africa yesterday, but we're hopeful to get some stories from her down under experience.

P1170024 For the next few months, my NYCR contributions will be few
and far between and will include words and phrases that don’t normally show up
in New York wine industry parlance, such as “bush vines,” “pinotage,” “Cape
blends,” “sun damage” and “penguins.”

This is because I ship off to
Stellenbosch, South Africa this weekend, where I’ll be a harvest intern at
Blaauwklippen Vineyards for the 2010 vintage.

Feeding both my South African wine obsession and my lust for
viticultural knowledge and experience, I’ll be absorbing as much information as
I possibly can while living and working in South Africa’s oldest and most
renowned wine region.

Though I’ll be recording my experiences on my own
soon-to-be established blog, Stellenbauchery, I’ll be sure to chime in on NYCR
from time to time with stories of bottles consumed, tidbits learned, and wild
animals narrowly avoided. (Just kidding – in this part of South Africa the
“wild things” are more likely to be of the college student/drunken tourist
variety. But you never know.)

Though I haven’t quite gotten around to packing more than
the bare essentials (see my suitcase, Exhibit A), I can’t wait to explore the
South African wine industry (the oldest outside of France!) and get to know
some of the people who make it exciting. When I return in May, ideally with an
extra suitcase full of wine in tow, I’ll be back to my old Niagara stomping
grounds with a once-in-a-lifetime wine experience under my belt. Until then, as
Klinger from M.A.S.H. would say, “So long – and may your camels spit nothing
but dates!”