Wow! What an incredibly fulfilling year. We couldn’t have squeezed more into this year if we tried! We’ve welcomed new staff to the crew, shared many wines with our growing wine club family, participated in numerous events, released a few ‘first ever’ products, celebrated a big birthday and renovated our Cellar Door (to name only a few!).
Our 2019 Vintage began with a heat wave that saw us bring in over 130 tonnes of grapes across the January to May period. The winery department consisting of Jon, Al, Alex and Hunna worked tirelessly to process the fruit and craft it into the delicious wines we all love. During this time, we also held an extra special Grape to Glass event, offering a hands on, behind the scenes glimpse of how we crush the grapes, plunge them and press off the juices, all while enjoying wine, live music and good company.
Speaking of live music, we thought it would be fun to support a local Tamborine Mountain family band in launching their first CD by having them perform at the winery. The Haystack Mountain Hermits launched their first CD in March and in a true test of professionalism and determination, played through torrential rain, mist and flash flooding! They put on a fantastic show for all those who attended the launch, despite having to relocate their set into the Cellar Door.
During April, we were honoured to be a major supporter and wine partner of Bleach*, the biggest arts festival on the Gold Coast. With multiple events expanding across two weeks showcasing local and international talent, it was incredible to witness many creative and passionate people across the Gold Coast connect through music, dance, and incredible performances.
After hosting the first of our biannual Members’ Days in May, we welcomed Eat Local Week in June, and represented this growing event as a Locavore by participating in numerous celebrations of local producers across the Scenic Rim. This included an intimate 5 course dinner with matching Witches Falls wines hosted by Josue Lopez from The Wolfe restaurant in Brisbane as well as participating in the Winter Harvest Festival in Aratula for the first time. This year we also collaborated with Cork and Fork Winery Tours and other local cellar doors to host a Progressive Wine Dinner which began with a wine and cheese pairing in our gardens at dusk. With so many exciting events, Eat Local Week continues to be a highlight of the year for us.
In between the regular operation of the Cellar Door, we decided to spruce up and renovate our outdoor area. This saw the addition of huge sandstone blocks and a renewed courtyard space (in a record time of 5 days!) as well as the inclusion of a gorgeous new fire place and French doors in the Cellar Door. As the saying goes, ‘good things take time’ and while there’s still some plans to be carried out, we are all enjoying the new space.
In October 2019, the winery celebrated its’ 15th birthday and we reminisced on the journey. We wouldn’t have made it where we are today without our valued suppliers, staff, members and customers. From our owners Jon and Kim Heslop having a vision, building the Cellar Door from the ground up, planting the onsite vineyard and working 7 days a week – Kim in the Cellar Door and Jon in the winery to now having a team of over 24 passionate people, Witches Falls continues to produce exceptional wine, memorable experiences, cheese and apple cider.
The winery department have worked hard to produce a few new varieties this year! We’ve released our first ever Wild Ferment Malbec and a Late Harvest Viognier as well as introduced hard apple cider into the Jambreen range. Crafted from Granite Belt apples, we have made two varieties, Pink Lady and Granny Smith. We think they are delicious and perfect to enjoy over the warm summer months.
The export department have seen some great success in 2019 with multiple pallets travelling to China and Taiwan. Witches Falls is well represented and the international support has led to a couple of the crew off to China early next year to further strengthen the relationship.
Some new faces joined our Cellar Door crew this year. Sienna, Imogen, Ren, Christian, Lili and Jasmine were welcomed while the winery department recruited Sam as our brand-new Cellar Hand. Our team continues to grow every year which is exciting and a very proud moment for us.
A huge congratulations also goes to Abby, Jon and Kim’s daughter, who is celebrating after graduating from her winemaking degree at the University of Adelaide. She is now an official winemaker! Next year she plans on expanding her knowledge in brewing with hands on experience in a brewery in Brisbane.
Finally, we are ending our incredible year by hosting Sunset Sips every Friday in summer from 4pm – 7pm at the winery. A chance to take a moment, watch the sunset, sip on a wine or cider, indulge in some cheese and relax with our favourite people (that’s you!). Thank you for an extraordinary year and we hope to see many new and familiar faces in 2020.