Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hot in the City? Time for a riesling, then....

"It's hot here at night, lonely, black and quiet, On a hot summer night, Don't be afraid of the world we made, On a hot summer night..."

Don't be afraid, indeed! There's another Summer of Riesling coming up and that can only be good. Less than a month to go until the sometimes brutal South Australian summer hits us. The green rolling hills of the Barossa Ranges will turn brown, the snakes will be out and about, and the vines will start bearing the harvest of 2012. Me? I plan to spend at least a few days at a beach with some of my favourite friends. It's one of my favourite places to sit and sip on a chilled glass of riesling.

It will soon be
Hot in the City, too. I just had to throw an eighties' song into this blog post, as it's about another riesling review from our friend in the Wild, Wild West; Jesse Lewis of Good Drop (and Jesse knows how much I love the music from that era!)

If you are looking to stock up on the perfect refreshment for summer, then this wine is one of our Clearance Specials - more than thirty percent off until November 20th (conditions apply). It's drinking nicely as you will see in Jesse's review below:

Karra Yerta Wines 2006 Eden Valley Riesling

I was sent two samples from Karra Yerta back in July. The 2010 was very enjoyable, and I’m impressed by the poise of this one with four years’ extra bottle age.

Classic Riesling purity with aromas of lime, orange blossom and slate. There’s a touch of toasty wafer from bottle age. An occasional note of kerosene crops up. The palate is spicier than I expected it to be; a trait which works well again the brazen lime and stone character. Noticeable palate weight and grip too (considering the variety). A suggestion of apple pie finishes off what is an enjoyable semi-aged Riesling. A top match for roast pork with crackling, I’d be willing to bet.

Very Good – Excellent.

Closure: Screwcap

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Battle of Evermore, and of Small Business.

"Queen of Light took her bow, And then she turned to go,

The Prince of Peace embraced the gloom, And walked the night alone.

Oh, dance in the dark of night, Sing to the morning light.

The dark Lord rides in force tonight, And time will tell us all.

This blog post has been brewing in my head for at least the past eight weeks. The only thing that has changed during this time, is the placement of the goal posts that I thought I was kicking toward, in September. Life's like that. Even the best laid plans go astray. Tonight, and through to the wee hours of the morning, while listening to Led Zeppelin's  Battle of Evermore, I pondered many things, especially the word 'battle'.

In October, I drove, or was driven, over three thousand kilometres in distance. Toward the end of the month, it became a battle. Being surrounded by death or the dying of some of those I love and admire most, became a battle. Working so much still, knowing how tough it is to sell even a good competitive wine, let alone have all the energy necessary to run a family and two businesses, became a battle. There were days when I felt like I could sleep forever, and many more nights where I couldn't sleep at all. Existence became a battle. I'm picking up, if only because the pressure from most fronts has dropped, for now anyway.

The tough part was not being in a battle, it was not knowing how long those current battles would last. It's hard to keep going when you are worn out on every level. And unfortunately, a lot of small business owners are. Thus, I pose to you, just how important really is it for small businesses to remain viable in your neighbourhood, state and country?

As I drove to Melbourne, in the early days of October, I set myself some goals - for Karra Yerta Wines, Collective Barossa, my family and myself. They seemed to be the correct ones to aim for at the time. Five days later, on my return home, they were still the best options. I had been grieving heavily (that story will come in due course), and my heart and soul were drained. As I stopped at small country towns, and not so small ones, I took note of whether McDonalds, Woolworths, Coles and the like, were there. Watched for wind farms. Paid attention to well, things.... Lots of things.
Life. I paid attention to my life, society, my place in it, my future and the future of all of us. I pondered deeply, about much.

I also gently spoke with other small business owners of many different kinds of retail outlets. They all said it had been a tough winter season. Lots of them were battling to pay the bills, as I was. Overheads in the wine industry, let alone the retail industry, are high. Even though I know what profit is, I am yet to see any, and that is fine as long as you have some idea how long the battle will last, for it is only then that you know the correct time to implement your Exit Strategy. One of my dearest friends, who is so gravely ill at the moment, and for whom I am already grieving, taught me the importance of an exit strategy and I am forever grateful to him.

I am also grateful to the many people who have helped me promote or sell our wines in the past month. Our 'Special Clearance Sale' ends on November 20. I need to sell lots of wine ("lots" to me is less than a few hundred cases) to have cash flow and reduce my overheads to remain viable with Karra Yerta and Collective Barossa.

Another thing I am grateful for is the never ending support from James, Steven (Kurtz Family Vineyards) and Mark (Gumpara Wines). Steven and Mark's commitment to selling their wines through (and serving behind the counter of) Collective Barossa, has been remarkable. Almost two years on, we have become an even tighter machine and work together so well. The respect we have for each other is incredible. It's another reason for me to keep going when I am so tired, when I can no longer speak a fluent sentence from sheer exhaustion of too many phone calls and too much talking. I love my quiet time at home, more than most people, I am sure. But for all the hard work, I still love my job. I love the people I work with, and I love meeting the amazing people that walk through the doors. These are the things that keep one going through the battle. These are also the things that change the positions of my goal posts.
Life's like that. Even the best laid plans go astray........

So, in finishing off this rather heartfelt rant, I ask you all to consider supporting as many small businesses as you can. Once they close the doors, the chance of them reopening is probably non-existent. Drive past the big boys and just sometimes, drop into a small family business instead. A winery, a bottle-shop, a book shop, a gift shop, a restaurant, a cafe'. These are the people who through their own passion or stupidity (sometimes I wonder which of these two categories I fall under - maybe both!) decide they want to work long days, for perhaps no monetary payment, to follow their dreams.

I like small business, I like living in the country, and I love living in Australia. Let's all try to help Aussie small businesses survive in the future. The choice is ours! It really is that simple.

Cheers for now,