Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Can I ask a favour that you support small business?

We are living in some pretty extraordinary times and circumstances at the moment and the struggle is real for a lot of people.

Having been on the ground in McLaren Vale and in the Barossa Valley these last two weeks as well as the Hunter Valley a few weeks prior, there is much uncertainty about what the future holds.

I've spoken with numerous growers and winemakers and it's very clear the concern is far reaching - more than many people suspect.

Like the small family run winery which just received a $30 000 invoice for bottling. This same business has lost numerous wine orders in the last week due to the closure of restaurants and key accounts. This same business has invoices to pay for fruit delivered by growers which arrived in recent weeks and has already been processed. These growers rely on these payments to get by. Wineries like this need income to pay the growers. But we don't see the growers. They are faceless, but without them, there is no product.

I've heard rumblings that some wineries are staring down the barrel and won't survive the next few months. I've heard suggestions that there may be some growers who will take their own lives due to a couple of poor vintage yields impacted by drought and little income.

The struggle is real, but for most of us city dwelling folk, we just can't see the real people who are being impacted.

But we can help.

Jump online and buy a six pack or a dozen wines from a small producer - a family business. Perhaps one you've never bought from previously. One who has mouths to feed at home. One who has school fees to pay and shirts to put on backs. One whose business assists other families - like the growers.

Can I discourage buying up from large chain stores which are fuelled by large corporate companies who own their assets and vineyards. These chain stores have significant buying power and can lure you in with discounts - reductions family business simply cannot afford. Some of these chain stores line 60% of their shelves with their own brands to happily saturate their own (already deep) pockets. The little guys are the ones we need to charge at and reach out to right now.

Get in touch and I'm more than happy to point you in the right direction. Tell me what variety you like drinking, your favourite region, white, red, rosé or fizz - there are many small businesses out there who would love your support.

And while I'm at it, those in the cafe and restaurant sphere are in the same boat. Yes, dining in is a no-go zone right now but get take away. Support that family run cafe or restaurant. You know who they are in your local area. Ring them, place an order and go and pick it up. That's right, you pick it up. Please don't be lured into supporting Uber Eats et al - they take 30% of the takings. That 30% adds up and it's good money the small business deserves and needs to keep afloat.

Please share this far and wide and let's band together and support small businesses. We as a country can band together to survive these challenging times.

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