Next stop… Adelaide Hills!

Well after a couple of relaxing days spent in Hobart, we now have to get back to the task at hand. Our research for our bed and breakfast idea is really going well. We are taking little ideas from each one we frequent on our travels. Once we put it all together back home, we will really have a stunning bed and breakfast of our own.

Adelaide Hills, baby blankets and a girl crush?

adelaide hills
So for the next part of our trip we were off to Adelaide Hills. I was told that this is an excellent wine producing region in Australia so we have to see for ourself. Our first stop was Shaw and Smith. This wine farm was started by two cousin in around 1989 and has proved to be one of the top wine producers in Australia. Of course, the wine was top notch, in fact I have yet to find one that I do not enjoy.

We spent a nice lazy day on the farm, taking in its natural scenic beauty as well as the wines on offer. We even met another couple from the States. Tom and Nancy were visiting friends in the city and had decided to take a break and come out to Adelaide Hills. winnie the pooh on baby blanketThey were having a picnic on the lawns and invited us to join them. They have a daughter, Lia. She is 18 months old and as cute as a button. She would not go anywhere without her baby blanket, which to be fair, I understand. Her blanket has a massive picture of Winnie the Pooh on it, He is my favorite cartoon bear and I just loved the blanket. When myself and Chad have kids, I will definitely be getting one of them!

Myself and Nancy really hit it off and spent hours in conversation. She is so down to earth and certainly very stylish, just like me! She was wearing a very simple blue dress with one of the most stunning choker necklaces I have ever seen. blue chokerIt had a simple black silk band, but it was the blue heart shaped jewel hanging off it that I really loved. We got on like a house on fire and in fact, when we said our goodbyes, Chad joked that I had developed a girl crush! He is such a fool sometimes. I am sure I blushed a lot, it felt like it.

Our next stop is McLaren Vale. We will take a week to explore the area as we want to finalize a few more ideas for back home. This trip really has been something else, certainly the best holiday I have ever undertaken.

A break from all the wine tasting…

Although I love Australian wines, I think we have been overdoing it slightly the last couple of days. So we made a few changes to our travel plans. Nothing too serious however.

It’s been dressing gowns, cushions and too much snoring!

We decided to take an unscheduled stop on our Australian tour. How did that come about, I hear you ask? There we were sitting in our hotel at the end of another long hard day of incredible landscapes, hot Australian sun and fantastic wine. I was in full rest and relaxation mode. The little bed and breakfast that we are staying in provided a dressing gown and slippers. I love these small touches. The robe was especially decadent and so thick and soft. Prefect for drinking a nice hot cup of tea.

Chad had assumed his favorite position. Lying on the couch, head on a fluffy cushion, snoring away. He says he is tired, but we all know it’s the beautiful wine! Anyway, before he left me for dreamland he had changed the TV channel to a documentary on Tasmania. Australia_Tasmania_002I was fascinated and decided there and then that we would make a short stop on the island. Chad didn’t need too much convincing when he woke up.

Where’s the Tasmanian Devil?

We found a quaint little bed and breakfast establishment on the outskirts of Hobart. I am so glad that we came here. It has been a great way to just relax and recharge our batteries.

For the first day we didn’t even set foot outside the bed and breakfast we were staying in. It is such a stunning, old home. I spent most of the day in my dressing gown in our room. Our bed had these massive, comfy cushions on it, comfy cushion it was the perfect place to laze the day away. The outdoor veranda had a two-seater swing chair with a cushion collection arranged on it. Both Chad and I loved it so much that we definitely want some for our bed and breakfast when we open it. I really loved the old style charm of the whole place, it has given me a number of great ideas to use back home.

We couldn’t spend all our time indoors so we the next day we travelled through Hobart. hobart cityIt is a beautiful little city, filled with some great restaurants. We had a delightful lunch at a little Italian place followed by the most massive scones I have ever eaten for afternoon tea. We also spent some time at the local zoo. I really wanted to see a Tasmanian devil, but they were not playing along and refused to come out of their enclosure.

Anyway, our time in Hobart and Tasmania had come to an end. Back to the wine tasting as our next stop is Adelaide Hills. I can’t wait to see more of this incredible country and its friendly people.

Magnificent McLaren Vale

Our next Australian stop is in the McLaren Vale region in South Australia. It is a few miles outside of Adelaide. Chad and I have now really started to formulate a great idea of what we want for our bed and breakfast when we return home to the winery.
McLaren Vale

We are hoping to get a few more ideas in McLaren Vale, specifically with regards to hosting weddings. We really have more than enough space to hosts weddings at the winery, plus we have such a stunning backdrop. winery wedding backdropThe fact that we would also have a bed and breakfast would make a great incentive for guests to stay over as well. Chad is not so sure about the idea as it means will we will need to build a venue to host wedding receptions, but I am hoping this trip will change his mind.

Chad, should we brooch the subject of weddings?

I have planned ahead, a little without Chad’s knowledge. I had arranged to meet with Lisa, a wedding planner in the area. I told her our story and she said that she was sure she could show us a few wine farms that host weddings and that would win Chad over.

We met with Lisa that Saturday. She was a short, petite girl and quite beautiful. She was wearing a stunning brooch that I immediately fell in love with. 4-Stunning-hair-broochI really didn’t want to ask her where she got it from, but in the end I just blurted the question out. She ended up showing me where she had purchased it and the site has the most stunning brooches I have ever seen.

Lisa took us to Rosemount Estate, a beautiful wine farm that also hosts weddings. Although Lisa was not planning this wedding, her good friend Sarah was. I was glad as this gave us much more time to pick Lisa’s brain without her having to worry about wedding matters.

Winning Chad over

You could see Lisa was an organised individual. She produced pages and pages of notes that she had printed for us. All of them detailed the venues in the McLaren Vale region so that we could continue to do our research throughout the week.
View More:
Lisa passed on some valuable information and I think Chad is really coming around to the idea. It is a way to generate more visitors to the farm, a way to ensure our bed and breakfast is used often and finally a way to sell wine!

I can’t wait to learn more during the rest of the week. We have set up more meetings with a number of Lisa’s contacts in the region. I am sure as we see more wedding venues on the various farms we will start to get an idea of how we could make it work back home.

We have some amazing ideas for our future

B&B back home! 

We are unfortunately coming to the end of our Australian trip and I can’t believe how fast the six weeks have flown by.  This really was an adventure of a lifetime and although I have missed home, I am so sad to see our time in Australia come to an end.  On the other hand, we have learnt so much here.  Chad and I are looking forward to implementing many of the home decorating ideas we have learned here into our planned bed and breakfast back home.

Happy in Hunters Valley


We at stayed at Hunters Valley for the last five days to finish off our Australian trip.  Every time you think you can’t see a more spectacular place than the one before, Australia just shows you how wrong you are.  Chad and I were both blown away by how beautiful the area is.  Let’s not forget the wine either, much like the rest of Australia, wine from this region is top notch.  On that note, Chad has had to purchase an extra suitcase to carry all the wine he has bought on the trip.  He says they are for research purposes.  Yes, I believe him…. And I am never going to let him live the extra suitcase down!

Just when we thought we had written down every possible idea for our bed and breakfast back home, the ones here in Hunters Valley given us even more food for thought.  In fact, we are onto our third notebook of ideas!

Lights, camera, bar stools!


The bed and breakfast place we stayed in last night made some really great use of floor lamps.  They had a reading corner in the main entertainment area. They positioned a floor lamp with an adjustable arm in a corner next to a very comfortable wing-backed chair. I love seeing such useful task lighting as this! A small table was placed next to the chair with various magazines and novels. It was a perfect reading nook.   I love the idea so much and we will definitely be doing that back at Columbia Cascade Wines.

The bed and breakfast also had a small little bar area with three hand carved wooden bar stools from this store: .  Chad spent a night there chatting to the owner.  Afterwards he could not stop talking about it and I know he will want one back home.  To be honest, I like the idea as well.  It will be a great meeting area for all the guests at the bed and breakfast and a brilliant way to introduced them to our wines.

Homeward bound

Well tomorrow we fly back to the USA.  This really has been the greatest holiday I have ever had.  I can’t wait to come back and have some more adventures in Australia.  I don’t think it will take too long either!

We just found wines that are better than those in the Columbia Cascades!

Admitting you might not be the best is never easy to do, but I have to give credit where it is due.  The wines of the Margaret River area of Western Australia are simply the best wines I have ever tasted.

They are definitely better than any found in the Cascades but not as good as those produce at Columbia Cascades Winery.  We have to praise our own product, right?

In all seriousness, these are the best wines I have ever tasted and Margaret River has been so much fun.  Chad and I enjoyed this part of the trip immensely and although it is very difficult to pick our favorite region of Australia, I think Margaret River is definitely right up near the top of the pile.

More great B&B ideas


We are still checking out bed and breakfast establishments at various vineyards and my second notebook is filling up so quickly with ideas for back home, especially home decorating ideas.  People are so clever!  I love home decorating but I would never have come up with half the ideas I have seen so far.

The bed and breakfast we stayed in last night had some beautiful views of the vineyard.  It was open plan, spacious and had this wall clock that I fell in love with immediately.  Although the entertainment area was extremely modern, the wall clock itself had a 1950’s styling. I just had to ask the owner where he got it from. He said he bought the clock from this online store. Apparently they deliver internationally!! It was circular in shape, made of chrome and had large black numbers and hands.  It really stood out and was the first thing I noticed when I entered the room. It just shows that often it is the little things that make all the difference.  I need to remember that for the bed and breakfast at Columbia Cascade Wineries!

Rocking the night away!


The entertainment area also had two dusty old turntables.  I haven’t seen one in ages!  We grabbed a few old records that were lying around and played them until the early hours of the morning, singing along (pretty badly I might add), dancing and just having a great time enjoying ourselves.  To be honest, I had forgotten a few of Chad’s signature dance moves.  He was quite the “John Travolta” back in the day.

 Marvelous Margaret River

I really can’t say enough about the Margaret River region.  Not only is it a wine growing area but it offers other popular attractions as well with surfing pretty high on the list.  Chad gave it a go, but in the end I told him to come out the water, it seemed he was more off the board than on it.

The wines from the region are top quality.  Although Margaret River only produces about 3% of Australia’s total grape harvest, the region accounts for around 20% of Australia’s premium wine.   That is just incredible.   There are around 26 wineries and estates in Margaret River.


We are embarking on a big new adventure! 

Bye Bye Columbia Cascades!

I really can’t wait!   Soon, my husband Chad and I, will leave Columbia Cascades and jet off to Australia!  Although we feel slightly guilty leaving Columbia Cascade Winery, we know that it will be in the capable hands of our employees.  We are going on a working holiday, so it is totally justifiable, right?

I decided to treat myself to a fabulous new leather travel wallet so I could look stylish on the whole trip.


I have not had the chance to use it very much lately.  All our time in the past couple of years has been taken up by the winery and making a success of it. We have had no time to get away at any point, and definitely no leisure time for Chad and myself.  I am looking forward to getting away from the cold here in Columbia Cascades and soaking up some Australian sun.

A working holiday

This trip is ultimately about improving our own vineyard at Columbia Cascades Winery.  We are planning on starting a bed and breakfast accommodation at the estate and finding out how to go about is the main reason for our trip to Australia.  Bed and breakfast accommodation at TO GO WITH Australia-currency-forex-tourvineyards is fairly common place in Australia and by visiting a few we hope to find out how to make this concept work for us.  I am also interested to see the home decorating techniques used at these bed and breakfast establishments and how they keep costs down while doing this.

Although a relatively new wine making area in the USA, wineries in the Columbia Cascades are starting to be noticed, ours included I am happy to report.  We want a way in which we can stand out amongst our competitors, (around 15 wineries operate in the region), and although we have a great wine, so do many of them.  I think this is where bed and breakfast accommodation will help immensely and encourage people to visit our winery, stay overnight and learn as much as they can about our wine making process.

Packing, packing and more packing!

packing-services[1]Back to the trip!  I am wishing the days away till our departure.  I have already sorted out most of my suitcases.  Chad is not too thrilled with the three I have already packed, but hey, you must have clothing options while away on holiday!  I told him that he can pack a little lighter to lessen the load and that I would cover any porter fees at the airport.

G’day mate!

Australia is going to be such fun.  I have never been there, but I have heard amazing things about the country and more importantly the wines, which I can’t wait to try.  I also have heard that Australians are really friendly people and that’s right up my alley because I love to chat.

Anyway, let me see if I can cut down on the number of suitcases I am taking.  Chad will be a happy man if I do!


We’ve arrived and the wine is more amazing than we could have ever imagined!

We are here!  So far Australia is everything I hoped it would be and so much more.  Even Chad, who is normally so laid back, is excited by our adventure.

A long flight


We both tried to sleep for most of the 26 hours of travel, which featured a couple of flights.  Luckily Chad didn’t have to worry about the luggage during connections.  We headed straight for the hotel we had booked in the center of Adelaide.   Adelaide seems like a really great city and if our taxi driver is anything to go by, the locals are extremely friendly, just as we were told they would be.  It was slightly difficult to pick up everything he said as he spoke really fast, but I am sure we will get used to the accent.  He seemed to like calling us Yanks!

Chad was very happy when we arrived at the hotel as he didn’t have to deal with the luggage.  A smiling porter was more than willing to ship everything up to our room joking with us all the way.  Chad could learn a thing about luggage transport from him!

What a beautiful room


The room we booked was beautiful and thoroughly modern.  It had some spacious furniture and all the mod cons you would expect for a room in a modern hotel.   I loved the bath the most and it helped to soak my weariness away in no time at all.  The room had some stunning pendant lights hanging from the ceiling. I had to ask the hotel manager where he got them because I wanted to ship some home for myself. He told me he ordered the pendant lights from this online store. Perfect! Each had an independent switch which allowed you to choose exactly which areas of the room would be lit.  It really added to the overall atmosphere.  I am definitely going to convince Chad to install some back home when we undertake some home decorating.

While I was soaking in the bath, Chad decided to get out his fancy new resistance bands.  He really wants to stay in shape while we are away from Columbia Cascade Winery, knowing full well that we will eat and drink like kings.    I think he is wasting his time.  I think his motivation will last for a couple of days although I will give him credit because he has used them every day at home since he bought them a couple of months ago.   Let’s see how right I am about this.

Wines to die for


After a great night’s sleep and an excellent breakfast, we headed out to the Adelaide Hills to visit some of the local wineries.  What can I say, we were really impressed.  Not only are the wineries extremely well run, but the wines are fantastic.  In all honesty we probably enjoyed them a little too much.

The Adelaide Hills themselves have more than 40 cellars to discover and we intend to visit a fair number of them while we are here.  The climate here is perfect for producing Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling.  We tried all of them at the various cellars we visited and they were top quality.

Not only do they produce wine in the region but outstanding olives and olive oil as well which were perfect to line our stomach before another tasting session.

I can’t wait to try out some more wines tomorrow!


Why the Barossa Valley looks so much like the Columbia Cascade wine region.

This working holiday is the most awesome time Chad and I have had in ages!  I think sometimes we just get too consumed in our own little worlds. Seeing other wineries in another country has helped give us some brilliant guidance as well as new ideas that we want to try out at Columbia Cascade Winery.

Beautiful Barossa


After leaving Adelaide, we have spent the last couple of days in the beautiful Barossa Valley, one of the major wine producing regions in Australia.  It really is very similar to Columbia Cascades and reminds us a lot of home with its stunning scenic beauty.  There are actually around 700 grape growers in the region with the majority of vineyards producing Shiraz.  Other wines produced in the region include Cabernet Sauvignon, Matro, Riesling and Semillon.

On our first evening in Barossa, we spent a wonderful time having a relaxing picnic as the sun set slowly over the valley.  The winery was kind enough to lend us these fabulous extra large picnic blankets to relax on.  We spent the evening chatting, eating some mouth watering cheese and drinking wine from the region. We had such a blast and again the wines were out of this world.  I fell in love with the Shiraz I tried, although the Cabernet Sauvignon wasn’t far off.  Chad liked them as well but he really enjoyed the Riesling, in fact he enjoyed it a little too much and decided to sleep in the next morning

Over the next couple of days we stayed at Mount View Cottages and Vineyards as part of our research into how bed and breakfast wineries work in Australia.  What a beautiful bed and breakfast it was and again the wines were incredible.


Some great home decorating tips



I got some incredible ideas for our bed and breakfast out of our visit, including some great home decorating tips.  The room we slept in had tons of throw pillows of varying sizes placed on the bed, sofa and patio.  It really adds a cozy feel, almost like a home away from home and really encourages you to treat the place as your own.  I want that kind of feel for our bed and breakfast.  People must feel welcome and be able to relax as if they were at home.





I have picked up some other amazing home decorating ideas so far during my stay including great paint schemes and colors, use of lighting to enhance atmosphere in a room, making the most of the space in the room, mixing and matching bedding and the use of small carpets especially to break up wooden flooring like we have back home.


Can it get any better?


Next up we head to Margaret River in Western Australia and my excitement just grows and grows.  I have heard some great things about this area and the wines coming from it and I am looking forward to travelling there and experiencing everything.  I need a new notebook first, mine is filled with all the ideas I have crammed into it so far.

Columbia Cascade Wines Blog is coming soon!

Hello! And welcome to our blog. My husband Chad and I have worked in the wine industry for over two decades and we have our own vineyard in the Columbia Cascade region. We’ve recently been investigating the idea of turning our vineyard into a ‘Bed and Breakfast’ which we hope bring in some extra money for the business. I’m Jessica and I started this blog to keep me on track and accountable, and to record the story of our vineyard’s transformation.