We can’t ignore the economic changes that have swept across the beverage and hospitality industry. The impact on our business has been dramatic with distributor sales in Sydney and Melbourne ‘falling off a cliff’ last year and still very sluggish but the bright note has been a distinct upturn in online sales and an even more noticeable increase in visitation to our vineyard.
So we welcome the announcement, by the Federal government, of discounted airfares to the north of the state and the announcement of two flights a week of direct flights from Auckland to Hobart. This will stimulate tourism in Tasmania right through to Spring. By then, the vaccine rollout may have boosted confidence to the point that people feel confident to travel in Australia at levels pre-Covid.
As I write this blog the East coast of Australia is experiencing record falls of rain as a ‘sting in the tail’ to the La Nina event. Rain is expected here this week but not at the intensity of further north. Our summer has been cool and notably cloudy. The vintage will be somewhat delayed, making ripening of our later varieties difficult.
This vintage marks a new chapter for us as our winemaking moves from Bay of Fires (after nearly 16 years) to Utzinger wines. Bay of Fires winery could no longer offer contact winemaking services as it has expanded its production of Arras base wine to meet demand and extend export opportunities.
We have been very fortunate to meet Matthias Utzinger who has just completed building his new winery at Legana. Our winemaking philosophies seem well aligned. We are looking forward to seeing what we can achieve together. Maybe a bit of Swiss and Austrian synergy!
This growing season in the vineyard has been marked by generous rainfall which I welcome to rebuild the vines after a disasterous 2020 which left our vines stunted. Our crop level will be down this year but with a healthy canopy this year’s pruning should be a pleasure and crop levels should return to normal in vintage 2022. Harvest 2021 will begin next week.
On Jan 25 we had to say goodbye to our dog Leia. Her sister Tess needed a companion as well as an assistant to chase wildlife out of the vineyard. Due to covid, puppies of any description are very hard to get…. We were fortunate enough to pick up an 8wk old Kelpie on 10/3 we’ve named Lulu. She is certainly keeping us & Tess on our toes! At first, Tess kept her distance. By 18/3 she would allow Lulu close by, but not touching her (top image). By 29/3 they were playing together & Lulu seems to be growing very quickly.(bottom image)
We wish you all a very enjoyable Easter break. For our friends in Qld & northern NSW….we hope your lock downs are short & you get to enjoy the Easter break with family & friends.
Cheers Bob & Rita