… for our 11th Birthday!!
- Many a huge production decision has been made over text message between Heather, Rob and Lu among an assortment of smiley emojis. No such thing as a board room here. Making wine is not a board room situation!
- The creation of the LDR might be a good example of this. It was the start of the pandemic, and Heather and Rob were staying home in lockdown. Our brilliant winery, Lodestone, dropped some tank samples to Rob’s doorstep (from Lobethal!). Dad rushed them inside to disinfect. He turned the kitchen into a lab (not the first time) and created a few potential blends. Lucy was invited over to the house to stand on the freezing, windy doorstep. Rob then handed a glass of each blend for Heather to rush down to the doorstep to leave for Lu, gloves on. Rob would yell details of each blend down the hallway. Lu then got to yell any pertinent thoughts, mask on, back down the hallway. Heather would interpret and add her thoughts in between as the arctic wind blew in our hair. It was just that classic Mediterranean winemaking dream that we all have. Anyway, that’s how your LDR was made. Enjoy!
- The bank said NO the first time to our mortgage request. But it wasn’t pitched by us, it was pitched by our former accountant! Lucy pulled an all-nighter to resubmit the application so we could meet with the business banking division in person. Since then the business banking department has been such a great ally. And both the bank and our accountants are Club Members of Somerled! Obviously.
- Heather has made us all over 20,000 anchovy sticks since we opened .. AND COUNTING! Don’t stop now Heather, back to it. They are such a hit. Inspired by a fact-finding mission to Melbourne that the three of us went on before we opened. Cutler & Co had a different, tempura version of this, but it gave Heather an idea. She has created possibly the most elegant and moreish accompaniment to Somerled wine that there ever was! Speaking of the sticks, you may know that they belong on our Spanish Platter. Thankfully, it has remained meticulously unchanged from our first day open, 29 August 2010. The Spanish Platter reigns supreme on our menu and shall never be altered. If you were worried about any platter leftovers being wasted behind the scenes, let that worry go too! Lucy’s chooks are machines. Goldie’s a cornichon fanatic, Pea goes mad for a Manchego rind and Blackie just can’t say no to a spot of pâté. There is no wastage believe us – and their culinary requirements are being more than met.
- We still haven’t decided what to do with Area C. You know that cut-away nook from the front veranda? Heather, Rob and Lu are standing in it in the main photo for this blog. Maybe you’ve never noticed it. It often gets overlooked. But, it could be so nice. We feel bad for it, and the poor thing has kind of become a family joke. If you have any ideas, let us know. Perhaps we could start with a different name.
- After much experience with export and domestic distribution, we were fairly well assured that this was NOT our preferred game. The hard sell, the schmoozing, the fight to stay on a wine list or in a bottle shop – well you know, it’s not very Moody! And certainly not very Somerled! So the plan from the start was to cut down our wholesale distribution to low or zero, and start with a brilliant Club concept if we could come up with one. That way all the wine could go out only via the cellar door to the Club. Sister Emma had her 40th in Napa, and we actively learnt a LOT about small pack clubs. These 2 or 3 bottle clubs are only now starting to gain momentum in Australia but there wasn’t a single one in Australia at the time – not one that we could find despite looking. We started our 2-bottle Club a year after we opened, had completely cut distribution two years later, and are now celebrating TEN years of our Jockey Club next month! Great team work, Club Members!
Let’s have a quick break to have a look at this cute compilation Lucy put together a few years back for our 5th birthday…
… awwww. Now, where were we?
- We still have quiet days. This week, we had one of the quietest days in our 11 year history! We always celebrate a sale though. During the first year when slow days were more frequent, we’d – Heather Rob and Lu – assiduously sit down for a glass and a Spanish Platter and compliment ourselves on a job well done!! It kept us going! No doubt sometimes Rob had to pay for his own glass just to get something in the till. Pretty sure that happened.
- We were the second in the whole of the Adelaide Hills to charge for tastings. We valued our wines from the start and I think that came across to people straight away. We encouraged any other cellar door we spoke to do the same, and we’re so glad that both the product (wine) and experience (tasting) is now something regionally that customers truly value too.
- We engaged an interior architect to help us with our design (and mainly access to chairs and tables) in 2010. It was a disaster. We paid, but we weren’t happy about the huge black and yellow stripe effect on the walls (?) to match Stephen Bowd’s silks, or the bright yellow bentwoods they suggested (so … not Rob). So we then engaged a second company, and they came up with something so beyond ridiculous that it eclipsed the fact that it was 10 – yes 10 times over our $20,000 budget. We won’t go into too many details but it involved buying 200 brooms from Bunnings. If you need more info, let me know and I’ll be happy to provide. What we did learn is a massive lesson, very early on, about consultants. If it’s your own business, often you do really know. In the end, that’s why in the banquette you’re sitting at the table Lu had her high chair pulled up to, and the cedar table near the fire – that was Emma’s childhood table (you can tell by her chalk graffiti that’s still underneath!) and our decanting bench is Auntie Madge’s cupboard. Life can be easy if you let it!
- 120 – the approximate number of people who drop into Somerled for a splash of something straight after a long-haul flight, suitcases still in the car. Yes, this figure is very approximate. But in our defense, we really have lost count because it is such a common story! We’re just so pleased that people feel good in our space.
- If you ever see the Moodys have a glass at Somerled, then suddenly stop everything and turn around in shock, it’s only because they’ve just suddenly realised (again) that they own the place. It happens from time to time. Let them have their moment, recover, and the conversation should return to normal.
Thanks for being part of the Somerled Journey –
you can see now that it wouldn’t have happened without you!
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