As you are all aware, things have got pretty weird in the world for the last few months. We decided that we would give you a bit of an update as to how things are going here in our small family business. Our cellar door was shut down when stage 1 restrictions in Australia were launched 22nd of March. Pretty tough discussion with many of our awesome weekend cellar door staff, as at that stage, we didn’t know anything about JobKeeper or have really any idea of the timelines, and it felt like we were making new decisions everyday with quicksand under our feet. I am sure you felt similarly.
While all this crazy was going on, it was also the middle of vintage for 2020. We were neck deep in grapes, and were picking every night with the machine harvester, plus handpicking during the day. We were very relieved that harvest was considered an essential service, and we were allowed to keep picking at the best time for each block and variety. The wineries too were able to keep processing the grapes, and working hard to turn it into wine. While many of the international and interstate cellar hands started to leave to return home (for fear they wouldn’t be able to get home soon), the core teams worked round the clock to get everything done perfectly. There were a couple of discussions about potentially sleeping at the winery and isolating ourselves there if we needed to!
We also started to lose our numbers from handpicking gang as all the internationals left, but there was another influx of workers as people found themselves without jobs as COVID restrictions started to bite. Our office team moved quickly to working from home, spilt days, less days and ensuring that we could still get wine to everyone who wanted it online. We have been overwhelmed with our wonderful OTT club members and online customers who have supported us during the cellar door closure. We will be forever thankful. We are sorry that we had to cancel all of our porchetta parties, but as soon as we can, we will get them back in action.
While we don’t know when this will end (maybe in July if restrictions are lifted as suggested), but have taken the time to work on our new cellar door expansion plans (watch this space) and a couple of new projects. We have delved into Grans cookbooks to bring you some of our family favourites, and we have also been checking out our Great Grans diaries around the 1918/1919 Spanish Flu epidemic to give ourselves some perspective.
We look forward to the days when we can travel to see you all, share a drink at our favourite restaurants and toast to the distant memory of a time when everything got really weird.
Stay safe, look after your family and hope you enjoy hearing from us about our COVID experience so far.
We rewarded the team with vintage tees to remember that we are all rockstars and every grape is sacred. We feel like we might have to get some cellar door merch happening. Thanks David Byerlee for interpreting our concept so well! The artwork is so us!