We almost miss the turnoff into the Fossil Ridge Winery, as the midday sun is making us squint. “There it is” I bellow. Michael applies the brakes, sending up a cloud of dust and stones into the air. Yet another grand entrance. We get a few looks from patrons milling around in the carpark but they quickly lose interest (that is, until another incident later on). Wow, this little winery is GORGEOUS! SERIOUSLY!

So many beautiful dining areas to chose from. We can have our lunch on the second level fronting the beautiful lilypads and the stream below, or stay on the first level which gives a view of the majestic vineyards stretching out into the distance.

We choose a table near some very quietly spoken tourists. Michael’s not too keen. “Is it reasonable to expect the whole place to ourselves” I ask. He actually stops to consider this. Really. We place our order at the counter and than step down close to the stream. We just love those lillypads and at this time of year, they create such a thick carpet of foliage. Ready for your closeup Mr Nees?

The staff at Fossil Ridge genuinely enjoy their work – a good sign. I sit back and observe howe they deliver food to the tables. There’s something about their posture that speaks of pride in what they do.They know the salad is crisp and fresh and that the fish came in just this morning. Then again, who wouldn’t like working here?. The menu is small but well balanced with platters, country lunches, salads and desserts.

We’re sitting at a table catering for six people and it’s a prime spot. We note a few resentful glances coming our way from larger groups wanting to sample Fossil Ridge wines. Ok, we’re ready to explore more of the vineyard anyway so we vacate our table and take a stroll. We’re treated to pictuesque scenes that remind Michael of the gentle rolling hills of Germany’s Allgau area, near the European Alps. I’m thinking ‘biscuit tin’ Italy. You be the judge:

Before heading off home, we pay our respects to Dusty, the resident Fossil Ridge Winery dog. No one comes between Dusty and his bone so we keep a respectable distance by using the zoom. Just before leaving, we see one of the staff making a beeline towards us. Have we left something behind? No, quite the opposite. The problem was, we hadn’t left anything behind. Forgot to pay. “I thought you paid”…but didn’t you…? why didn’t you say…? All this taking place in front of the amused staff. Don’t worry she says, you’re the second person this afternoon. We sheepishly make our way back to the restaurant to settle the bill. Wonder if Dusty had anything to do with raising the alarm?

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