2020!  This is the year that I call FECKD. I might even produce a FECKD wine to remember 2020 or maybe not.

F – Fires and smoke taint
E – El Nino resulting in a challenging vintage
C – COVID19, enough said
K – Knee-deep, we were certainly knee-deep in it for the first half of the year
D – Drought, that’s how the year started off!

In all seriousness, it certainly was a year of challenges and resilience. Commencing with stress on the vines due to drought then followed up with the smoke that destroyed the fruit and tourist visitation. Then along came COVID19, the great disruptor of so many lives and livelihoods both here and around the world.

There were however many positives for us here at Shaw Wines. It did provide us with the opportunity to undertake many tasks including staff training that normally would be hard to find the time to do. We also had the chance to take a holistic look at what we do and where we can improve and innovate.

This involved looking at the business as a whole along with winemaking, viticulture, marketing and improving experiences for visitors and our loyal wine club members.

Business high-end overview – We had prepared for us a Sustainability Planning and Development Evaluation which covers the whole sustainability gambit of sustainability, climate change and economics. This has resulted in a comprehensive action plan for us to work through to put the recommendations into practice.

Winemaking – We are working on some new blends along with some options with our Malbec, with this year’s crop being our first vintage. We have changed the bottling process of our reds and our wines from 2019 are now vegan.

Viticulture – We have continued along the sustainability road by eliminating the use of herbicides in the vineyard. This has achieved a large build-up of grasses, clover and weeds under the vines thus adding to the organic matter in our soil. The native grasses are gradually smothering the weeds and are creating an ecosystem that is encouraging the build-up of beneficial insects. These insects such as ladybugs, wasps, bees, spiders and predatory mites help keep the vines free of damaging insects such as caterpillars. Our newly installed bee population is also working hard to pollinate the grasses to assist in this sustainability process.

Marketing – You may have noticed we have a new website, all refreshed and more informative and user friendly. Alongside this, we have been increasing our social media training and application in order to be more engaging with our supporters.

Visitor experiences – With the public health concern with COVID19, all our staff are well aware of the NSW Health requirements and we are a registered NSW COVID Safe Business. We have put procedures in place to ensure the safety of all our customers and to make you feel comfortable and relaxed.  We have also developed a number of new experiences from RIEDEL varietal glass tastings in our private cellar to a high-end Jet and Helicopter Gourmet Food and Wine package from Sydney to the cellar door.

Wine Club – For our loyal Wine Club family members, we are refurbishing the Private Tasting Room to an exclusive wine club lounge furnished in the Gatsby era style. There will be museum wines available in this lounge only for members and their friends. Keep your eye out for further details to come.

Here’s to a great 2021!

Graeme Shaw