Rod & Noelene Buffet Mcalpine
Two Chimney Wines www.twochimneywines.nlk.nf
Norfolk Islanders living off the land have diversification down to a fine art and that goes for the local vintners as well. Rod and Noelene Buffet Mcalpine produce 1000 bottles a year, the first and only vineyard on Norfolk Island.
The soft, maritime climate and volcanic basalt soils lend themselves to chardonnay, semillon, verdelho, merlot, and chambourcin grapes. My pick was their sparkling chambourcin, a fresh, light wine with delicate blackcurrant flavours, perfect for a mid-day Norfolk Island picnic.
Rod and Noeline always have added value in mind, offering tourists both wine tasting and the opportunity to sample some of the island’s freshest, prettiest produce. A range of chutneys, relishes, fresh fruits, vegetables and breads form the basis of fragrant herb-bedecked platters which Noelene prepares herself while visitors are busy sipping. When she introduces the platters, strewn with island flowers, it’s like taking a garden tour on a plate.
Whether or not you book a farm, wine or food tour while on Norfolk, or choose to self-cater, it’s impossible to visit the island without encountering innovative, smart, delightful use of small holdings.
There is no point in looking for a grocery store – they don’t exist. Instead, paw paw, guavas, peaches, plums, caulis, tomatoes and cucumbers can all be found at the Sunday and farmer’s markets, and in the many tiny stalls intriguingly tucked into the doorways of shops as diverse as pharmacies and hardware merchants. Norfolk Islanders are self-sufficient when it comes to produce and any that is spare is either traded with neighbours, given to extended family or sold outside the shop whose owner you just happen to know (or be related to!) and the honesty boxes that accompany these little stalls say it all.
Emily from The Hilli Goat Farm, and Rod and Noelene from Two Chimney Wines, and many others on Norfolk Island offer a simple yet highly sophisticated range of experiences. I came away from Norfolk Island wondering why I hadn’t visited this gem before, and knowing I would return again. When I do, who knows what its imaginative residents will have dreamed up next to enable them to live the life they choose on their own patch of paradise.
Noelene. Two Chimney Wine’s platters are like visiting a flower show.