These ugly images, taken on Christmas day, are from what was once a historic vineyard site adjacent the Hardys winery, on the corner of Reynell and Panalatinga Roads at Reynella. Much was written and spoken of when Constellation sold the land to Pioneer Homes earlier this year, and here's the present day picture. You can just see the manicured hedge and entrance signs to Hardys headquarters in the left of the top image. Not that long ago it was nothing but rare suburban vines (diseased from what I've been told by Hardys reps), soon it will be common suburban housing.
I grew up at Reynella, in fact, the house I lived in until I was 20 sat roughly 400 metres from this vineyard site.
South of this vineyard lies Panalatinga Creek (which is suspiciously drier and filled with more overgrown shrubs than what I remember), partnered by the Old Reynella walking trail, which stems from my old family home to the historic Old Reynella settlement in the west.
But directly south sits the monument of John Reynell's (early settler of Reynella) first home, marked by no more than four pine trees, two park benches and a plaque. The monument overlooks the now old vineyard site, providing what was an idyllic view across a historically significant piece of Reynella's heritage. Incidentally, a good section of the vineyard was replanted the same year I was born.
As rambunctious teenagers my friends and I would often congregate at John Reynell's monument. We were too young to drink at home, so we'd often take the a short afternoon stroll to this most placid and relaxing of environments. There, we would drink beer (usually West End Draught) and discuss the current events in our lives and our futures. It gave us somewhere to get away from the rigours of adolescent life. I can recall my first memorable food/alcohol match being discovered while overlooking the vineyard, it was my friend Casey's home brew Coopers Sparkling Ale paired with peanuts. Hardly earth shattering, but when you're 15 in Reynella the world of Wagyu and Lafite is a long way away.
To be honest, none of us even realised there was a vineyard in front of us, what it was there for, or its significance. None of it mattered. All that mattered was we had somewhere to go. And what a lovely place it was too.
Future generations of Reynella's children won't get the same privileges offered to us as kids. They can sit at Reynell's monument if they like, but I hope they enjoy the site of a back fence, just as I hope its residents enjoy the site of kids drinking behind their back fence.