Friday, February 19, 2010

A little less conversation, a little more action...

The title of this blog entry is one of my favourite motivational songs, and I need some motivation. It's been a huge five weeks; long days (still), short nights, summer, vintage, and in between yet more surprises, some bad but mostly good.

I am exceptionally happy at the way the range of Karra Yerta wines have been received at the Collective Barossa shop, and lots of new friends have been made which is really wonderful and incredibly encouraging. There has been so much bad press regarding the Barossa and the entire Australian wine industry in recent weeks that it is totally refreshing to be in the thick of many levels of the local wine industry at the grass roots level, and feel such positivity.

My customers at the shop are sincere in their appreciation of our "hands-on" approach, as tired as we all are (the four winemakers and myself), and they really do leave the Collective Barossa shop with another perspective of the Barossa (and Australian) wine industry. It is wonderful to be able to share our stories with our customers and also fill them in on our own family histories after they have visited the Museum.

In regards to the media, one positive event was a visit from one of our
favourite wine writers, Andrew Graham, from Sydney. Andrew has reviewed a lot of Karra Yerta's wines over the past few years and always enjoys them which is a terrific feather in our cap seeing as how we were completely unknown when he first discovered us. It is the support of writers like Andrew that keep the little guys plugging away at their dreams when sometimes it all seems too hard. It is easy to give up, and I am sure that this year, many vignerons and winemakers will. It is an incomprehensibly tough market. I'm not sure when things will settle down, on a global scale let alone locally, but with the encouragement that Andrew provides, and many other writers who continually and willingly taste small batch wines, and not only appreciate and like them, but publish these positive reviews, it will get better for those of us that persist. The first photo below is of Steve (Kurtz Family Vineyards) with Andrew and his lovely lady, Caryn.

On the same day of Andrew's visit, I had to attend a photo shoot at Eden Valley for a feature in an upcoming Wine Business Magazine. When you get to stand along side the other producers from our very special, and still relatively unknown region (Eden Valley), you can't help but be impressed with the quality of wines being produced. Hutton Vale, McLean's Farm, Radford, Irvine, Mountadam, Henschke, Fernfield.... so many fine wines, such an incredible array.
The bottom photo shows how the ladies got over the barbed wire fence to get to the actual location (you had to be there but trust me, it was rather funny) and the other one is of Wayne Ahrens and another great Eden Valley identity, Chris Rogers.

Despite the negativity, and stressed look on many faces, I feel a ray of hope for the future of the Australian wine industry and especially for the families that really do put in the hard yards themselves. It's hard work, and can take many years to be rewarded financially, but I have said it once, and I will say it again; the lifestyle is hard but worthwhile. Sometimes one does feel like giving up but after a weekend like this, you are again filled with inspiration to continue with the passion of producing great products from exceptional vineyards in an incredibly special area.

Cheers to the future of Australian wine!

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