Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
A leisurely wander with Alf Edgecombe through history
Edgecombe Brothers Winery is one of the oldest wineries continuously in the same family hands in the Swan Valley and with strong links with the local community.
Edgecombe Brothers (Photograph by Sasha Wasley)
The brothers concerned have all passed and the winery and attendant businesses have moved on a generation. Alf Edgecombe is happy to talk about the family and has been prevailed upon to talk about the family and the local history in an event that has been called a 'History Ramble'.
I was fortunate enough to be invited to one of the first and I'd like to recommend them to you. The way it works is this - you all (limited numbers for comfort) assemble at 10:30am at Edgecombe Brothers in Gnangara Road and have a steaming cup of coffee and an Anzac biscuit or two before setting out at a very leisurely pace over the road to one of the fields of grapes.
Alf is very knowledgeable about the land, grapes and viticulture and was full of snippets of information and with ready answers to all our questions.
We had a look at the asparagus beds - absolutely nothing to see at the moment, but in two months time - oh my! September is the start of the asparagus season and tonnes and tonnes are taken off.
We meandered comfortably down the rows of vines across West Swan Road and up the gentle incline of Henry Street to All Saints Church.
A gentle walk up Henry Street (Photograph by Sasha Wasley)
On the right hand side there is an alpaca farm and the gentle animals looked at us with the calm, uncurious, equanimity of their kind.
A pause for 'oohs' and 'aahs' and into the quiet precincts of All Saints, shaded by huge trees and seeped in the history of the Colony. The church marks the high point of Captain Stirling's exploration and where services had been read since 1830, less than a year since the foundation of the Colony.
Young alpacas (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
The building, the oldest church in Western Australia was built by Richard Edwards between 1838 and 1840 and consecrated in January 1841.
The cool, dim interior breathes the solemnity of worship in was is essentially a chapel for the local families - the Barrett-Lennards, Edgecombes and the handsome lychgate was donated by patriarch George Edgecombe to mark the centenary of the settlement in 1929.
If you are at all interested in the Edgecombes and the area, you should have a look at John Edgecombes autobiography Banker John.
A slow walk brought us back to Edgecombes just in time for a wine tasting and a tasting platter to share. I have spoken elsewhere of the food served at Edgecombes but this was well up to standard.
Lunch at Edgecombe Brothers (Photograph by Sasha Wasley)
The ramble, morning tea and lunch costs $58 per head (weekdays) or $70 for weekends. and should be booked through the City of Swan website.
If there's time Alf will also give you a quick demonstration of how to prune a grape vine and everyone who attends gets a selection of grape vine cuttings to take home and plant so that you can grow your own.