Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Are we Australia's smallest winery?

I have just started working on our first ever advertising campaign. The inspiration has come from the simple question asked by so many within the wine industry when I tell them how much wine we produce each year: "Why do you bother?"

Well, it is an odd thing that our customers appreciate the fact that we are so tiny, as opposed to many larger winery owners who think we are totally wasting our time. One fellow even stated that it would never be worth our while exporting. I politely told him that we had in fact sent an entire pallet (64 cases) to the UK last year and he was quite astounded.

I can recall how one of our former accountants used to persist in calling us "life-stylers". I don't think he meant to be condescending but I did find it a little negative. He stated that we would never make a reasonable income from our wine sales, ever. He refused to even acknowledge us as being a "small business".

Yes we are probably Australia's smallest winery, or at least one of the smallest: we process under 5 tonnes of grapes, produce less than 500 cases and end up with less than 5000 bottles per year, but that does not mean that we cannot contribute to the premium end of the Australian wine industry. In fact, I think it is an advantage as people we deal with, on any level, be it retailers, customers, wholesalers, salespeople etc, all deal directly with my husband, James, or myself.

There are no other employees to misplace paperwork or labels. We can do that all on our own, thankyou! Just joking. We seem to be coping quite well with the multi-tasking that comes with running a business with our own hands. And when we get positive comments from reputable wine writers and appreciative customers who themselves are beginning to question the motives of the multi-national wine companies, it provides great inspiration for us to keep at it.

Yes, there will be times when we get behind if the entire family catches influenza, or we may be bogged down in paperwork during pruning time, but we do catch up. That's just a part of being a small (tiny) family business. Our new motto is to "Appreciate the little things in life.." Yes, little we may be, but a significant impact we will make, eventually. And there are more and more of us "little guys" out there. So next time someone asks me why we bother, I will smile and say.. because we can....