There are over 2,000 hosts registered with the WWOOF Australia program – and Harris Organic Vineyard and Winery have been hosts since 2007. That year we met Benjamin and Jasper – two surfers from Germany who arrived very tired from not getting enough sleep in their Northbridge backpacker accommodation. These lovely young men are memorialised by the fine grape arbour that they built at the winery.
We have had young visitors from France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Scotland, England, Japan, China, Korea, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, Germany and Sweden.
All of the young people that we have met since the outset; 52 at last count are each remembered with fondness and gratitude – not only for sharing with us themselves but for the great work that they have carried out. While every vintage comes and goes in the winemaking year; the soil is turned, the grapes are picked and crushed, the wine is fermented and the bottles are labelled – we remember our friends.
While we have been of use for many to practice their English skills, we have learned an enormous amount from our young visitors as well – we were influenced by our Danish friends Mikkel and Rasmus who were worried about the use of standby on electrical appliances, and who visited my daughter’s year one class to talk about Denmark, the lovely Sandra from Germany who helped us at festivals and was so funny, the elegant and beautiful Natalie from Beijing who reassured us that China was not necessarily so closed to the West as one might fear, the amazing Elin from Sweden who spent Christmas with us and helped me paint an old drying shed in 36 degree heat.
We have Fabian’s Gate that keeps the dogs in, Sebastian’s shower recess (which bears the sign ‘Fontaine de Sebastian) and has showered many beautiful young ladies, Michael and Jeremy’s footpath and attendance at a climate action rally in the city, Alexander, Michael, Jessika and Melina’s brickpaving, Phillipe’s chook pen – each of our visitors has left a mark on the property and in our hearts.