Where to begin....... That's a thought which has been going through my head from the moment this venture went from merely a dream to an idea that was becoming a reality. Perhaps starting from the beginning is best in this case.
My parents moved to Denmark WA in 1982 from Switzerland. They had both worked in professional fields, my dad as an Architect and my mum in Marketing and as a buyer for a large mail order company. They dreamed of a simpler life, of warmer weather and retirement from their busy lives. Little did they know that they would be busier, in a sense, then they had ever been before. They bought our family farm when they arrived and set about building the family home and our first chalet. They had the idea to be farmers, being self sufficient living of the land, but as life would have it, other opportunities came about.
Leasing shops in town and playing an important role in changing the face of Strickland street, my dad working in his field as an Architect and my mum managing the Spot News Agency. Retirement and relaxation seemed far from their current situation, especially when my brother Oliver arrived in 84 and I followed in 87. I grew up in the Spot News Agency, some of you may remember me from when I use to sit on the counter and ring the bell, and later the shoe store 'Mainstreet shoes and bags' in Albany. It only seems fitting, that my parents who by dreaming of simpler things ended up running multiple businesses, would then end up expanding our family farm to include more chalets and planting an Olive grove and Vineyard.
My parents had tried the wine that Angelo Scifoni use to make for himself, and us kids knew him from being our Italian teacher at Steiner School. His skills in making wine the traditional way, without adding preservatives was something my parents were keen to include at Monkey Rock Winery and therefore it was only natural that they asked him to be involved as Head Winemaker and business partner. As a young teenager at the time, I was busy siting exams and applying for university. It never crossed my mind that Viticulture could be an option, I wanted to cure disease and so Science and more specifically Genetics was the path I chose to take. I completed my PhD in Paediatrics in 2016 and started working as a Data Analyst in mental health for the Western Australian Chief Psychiatric.
I still remember though driving home to Denmark from Perth, arriving at 9am and getting straight into the Vineyard to pick the grapes. Being on the family farm was where I always felt the happiest and I knew that one day I wanted to move back. Having my own daughter in 2017 set this path into motion, we wanted her to grow up in the country, on a farm and I wanted to be closer to my parents, her Omi and Opa.
So here we are today, planning our move later this year and learning everything we can. We are currently submitting plans to build a new caretaker residence on the farm and hopefully if everything goes to plan we can begin the building stage in the later half of the year and move to the farm to start managing the running of the chalets and winery. Being thrown in the deep end one might say, but with experts as our guides. We bring a desire to expand what my parents built, to learn what we can, whether from practical experience, post graduate degrees or MOOCs (massive open online courses) and are looking forward to being a part of an amazing wine region.
Stay tuned for updates on how our sea change/life change from the city back to the country goes.
Steph and Family