Along with the rest of the world, 2020 certainly presented us with a number of challenges and changes.
In February, as vintage approached, it was clear that due to the drought, harvest quantities in the Granite Belt were going to be drastically reduced (less than 5% of the usual). Thankfully, we were able to source phenomenal South Australian fruit to make up the shortfall, and the silver lining was the introduction of new varieties. What had previously been known as the Granite Belt Collection was renamed the Provenance Collection to reflect its new origins, and Vermentino became our new favourite variety.
As COVID-19 hit, March saw us able to sell wine, but unable to do wine tastings, and we joked that we were the most beautiful bottle shop in the world. We launched our WOW Home Delivery Service and delivered wine, cider, cheese and beer to wonderful customers all over South-East Queensland. We were incredibly grateful to all of you who supported us wholeheartedly and came on-board with our new way of doing things.
Jon and Kim made the decision to retain all staff, and we made the most of the downtime. Our talented cellar door staff morphed into courier drivers, painters, gardeners, cellar hands, and embraced all that was asked of them. We worked on the website, repainted cellar door, paved new areas, added tables and umbrellas, and jumped through every hoop needed so we could open our doors for tastings again.
During this time our cellar door staff also shone behind the camera, conducting virtual wine tastings so that if you couldn't get to us, we could bring the winery to you.
In late May we were able to re-open for tastings but under very strict guidelines. Meals were required to be served alongside our tastings but the definition of a meal was very confusing. At first, our cheese platters weren't considered enough and, just as we found a solution in our gourmet salads, a simple snack was suddenly sufficient. During the year we have added many more delicious local items to our Jambreen produce range and cheese platter menu selection.
May also saw us having to make the difficult decision to cancel Members' Day but there seemed no way that we could proceed and be COVID safe.
Our website upgrade was launched in June. As well as being visually beautiful, the site is easier to navigate and more technically sound. The inclusion of a members portal gives wine-club members flexibility and autonomy to view and update details and redeem membership points online.
In August, our Hard Apple Cider was rebranded from Jambreen to Eighth Day and Ginger and Rosé varieties joined Pink Lady and Granny Smith to round out the range. The ciders are made with minimal intervention from 100% fresh Granite Belt apples and certainly are a delicious drop of homegrown goodness.
As the days started to grow warmer and longer, it was decided Spring was the perfect time to bring back Sunset Sips with the winery's jasmine-smothered cellar doors remaining open until 7pm on Friday evenings. It's become somewhat of an institution, and the introduction of Oyster nights one Friday every month is a new, very well received ritual.
October saw us wave goodbye to our estate-grown Durif in an intensive operation that meant excavating all the existing grape vines. In its place, we have planted brand new Pecorino vines, a white variety native to Italy, perfectly suited to our climate here on Tamborine Mountain. You can look forward to tasting this drop in a few years.
On the wine front, look out for more of the new South Australian varieties making their appearance in the Wild Ferment Collection. Our first Wild Ferment Marsanne since 2008 has just been released, and soon we will have the debut of three new wild ferment reds - Aglianico, Tinta Barroca and Nero d'Avola. We just know that these wines are going to become your next favourites!
We hope that 2021 finds you well and look forward to seeing you at cellar door soon.
What a wrap up Helen!
Well done to you all for making the most of and getting through 2020.
So looking forward to catching up this year.