Coolangatta Estate cellar door manager Ben Wallis is relieved to announce that the 2013 harvest at Shoalhaven Heads has finished a week earlier than expected.
Mr Wallis said in spite of all the challenges faced with the weather in recent weeks, the vintage looked OK but a decision was made not to pick the cabernet this year.
"The heat, rain and humidity all got a bit too much for it," he said.
Being wine-glass-half-full kind of people, Mr Wallis and his father-in-law Greg Bishop have preferred to focus on the positives.
They are counting themselves lucky to have escaped the recent wind storm that damaged nearby properties and caused so much heartache in Kiama.
"Whoever organised the tornado must have been a wine drinker, it missed all four vineyards," Mr Wallis said.
"The tempranillo, tannat and chambourcin all came off in great condition, albeit in lower quantities. Greg is off to see the winemaker in the Hunter this week."
The four vineyards Mr Wallis is talking about were all those in the Shoalhaven Heads area.
Blazing a trail
LEUSSINK Engineering's first first female fitting and machining apprentice, Ashlee Camilleri, may have created history when she started recently but she says the best thing is being treated like everyone else.
It has been business as usual for everyone since Ashlee, 15, of Gerringong, started her chosen career with four male first-year apprentices at the Unanderra firm.
Training supervisor Allan Van Elsland said Ashlee was one of 30 students who did work experience last year and it was great to see a female apply.
He said she was judged on her merits just like everybody else and he had no hesitation giving her an opportunity to realise her dream when she proved herself.
Ashlee said doing work experience at Luessinks confirmed what she was already thinking and she did not have to think twice when she was offered an apprenticeship.
It does not bother her being the only woman on the factory floor and she said she was made to feel very welcome.
Her advice for other young women interested in such a career is to seriously consider it.
"I want to make engineering my life," Ashlee said.
"This is a great company to work for. I love it here."
Ashlee and the other first-year apprentices are in good company because fourth-year apprentice Mathew McGlashan, 21, was recently chosen to represent Australia at the next WorldSkill Olympics in Germany in July.
Pub crawl lessons
THE founder of the Santa Claus Pub Crawl, Neil Webster, is the guest speaker at Junior Chamber International Illawarra's first business networking event of the year at Wollongong Golf Club tomorrow.
Since it started 18 years ago it has grown into one of Illawarra's most successful annual charity events.
THE latest in luxury accommodation for dogs has come to the region. Dogue Country Retreat Boutique Hotel and Day Spa located at Berrima is a resort offering pet pooches a luxurious holiday setting.
The property also features a vineyard where guests can exercise, play and relax all day before retiring to bed.
There are 17 guest suites and resort style amenities including individually prepared meals.
There is also luxurious linen, televised movie nights, climate controlled air and twice daily housekeeping.
Guests can head to the dam for a swim or follow the resident tour guide, a beagle called Bon Scott, in exploring the grounds.
The five-star home away from home for canines also features a grooming salon and day spa. There are also services such as nutritional consultations and weight loss programs.
Further information at www.dogue.com.au/retreat.
ILLAWARRA Women in Business directors Glenda Papac and Delyse Del Turco are encouraging businesswomen to nominate for IWIB's annual Illawarra Businesswomen's Awards.
Entries close on April 5 and the awards will be presented at the Portofino Function Centre on May 3.
THE Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk turned five last Friday and celebrated by offering special discounts and a piece of birthday cake to visitors over the weekend.
The elevated walkway above the tree canopy at the top of the escarpment near Knights Hill is the only one of its kind in NSW.