Reminiscing on 40 Years Part I

Chris always had a dream to have his own place and do his own thing.

A vacant bit of dirt might have the potential for his vineyard, an old building might be a possible winery, so it was no surprise to be told about the uninhabited and abandoned property coming up for sale in part of the Rutherglen Wine district.  I didn’t get off to a good start.  The day the children and I arrived to look at the property, the rain was pouring through the loose and flapping sheets of corrugated iron called a roof.  There was no electricity connected as the buildings had been unoccupied for 5 years.  The white ants were busily chewing their way through the timbers and the mice had made themselves ‘at home’.

However, we set about looking for finance, getting help from an Accountant to work on a five year plan to present to the Bank.  Sadly and annoyingly, the day before the auction, the Bank who we had applied for a loan, the Bank who we had such a good track record with and whom we had banked with since being little children, wouldn’t lend us the money. To say it was a shock and a HUGE disappointment, at such a late stage in proceedings, was an understatement…in fact I am still bitter and twisted about it and have voted with my feet, that have never darkened their door since.

However, I digress.  Our Accountant took us to the Westpac Bank where he said the Manager was very modern in his thinking and hopefully would be interested in meeting us.  It was after 4 o’clock.  The door was closed and locked, but Trevor, our Accountant knocked on the door and called out to the Bank Manager, ‘I’ve got a couple here who need to meet you’.

Half an hour to an hour later we left the Bank and I was clutching $1000 in cash to take to the auction the following day, in case we were successful.  If we were not successful, the Bank Manager trusted me to come back with the thousand dollars to give back to him! If we were successful, which we were, we could come back and transfer our accounts from ‘the other bank’ to the Westpac Bank in Corowa and that is exactly what we did.  Because, at the auction, despite my shaking like a leaf, Chris managed to be successful on Lot No.2, the old Distillery and our home, and Lot No.3, the bridge and the Sunday Creek vineyard.  We were welcomed to the district by our fellow Vignerons who were also at the auction, either just out of interest or with an intent to buy.  Luckily for us, none of them bid against us and we ended the day with the first of Chris’s dreams coming true.

Our lives were set to change ‘big time’ and they certainly did, but I will save some of those stories for 40 Years of Recollections Part II.

Recollections from Robyn Pfeiffer

Chris Pfeiffer

Potting up the Pinot Noir