Saturday, April 19, 2008

Endorsing Shelmerdine Wines and Vineyards

I recently convened the 12th International Aegean Conference, DAIS: The Aegean Feast on 25-29 March. The lead up to the conference and catching up have kept me from blogging much. But I want to relate one of the best experiences that I had with the conference. One of my presenters was the prominent Classicist Cynthia Shemerdine from the University of Texas. Out of the blue and on a whim, I contacted the Shelmerdine vineyards with regard to sponsorship. Stephen Shelmerdine and his lovely wife Kate met with me and a friend Stephie, who has been helping with the conference. Then they invited me, my husband, and Cynthia Shelmerdine, and her partner for a wonderful afternoon lunch where we also met Stephen's mother. I spent some time looking at family photos for resemblances and hearing about the family history of the Shelmerdines - I now know more about them than my own. Before they started a vineyard, there was a felt hat factory in Melbourne.

The Shelmerdines donated several cases of wine for the conference banquet at Ablas Lebanese restaurant, which they attended as my guests and sold us wine below cost for the reception - which was decorated with the felt hats of the Shelmerdine factory, and organized our winery tour. When we visited his Lusatia winery in the Yarra Valley, Stephen personally explained all the wines to the archaeologists, and also the iconography of the labels and even the bottle cap. One could not ask for a better service than this. He is a great raconteur and story teller.

I can very much recommend Shelmerdine wines and their Heathcote winery.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

First Visit to Sydney

I gave a seminar at the University of Sydney last week. It went really well and then on Friday I attended the meeting of the Council of the Australian Archaeological Institute in Athens, and I got taken out to the Australian club both nites.

I spent Saturday walking around the city. I went to the aquarium, then on to the parks and botanical gardens. Then at sunset I had a glass of champagne in front of the opera house (it looks smaller in person), then ate lobster at a restaurant on the harbor with a view of the bridge, then walked around some more and that was it.

I really like Sydney - it's much warmer than Melbourne for one thing. The tall buildings reminded me of New York, the old buildings reminded me of London, the harbor reminded me of San Francisco, and the weather reminded me of LA. So, it's not like any place I've visited.