When they acquired Tarragandra Hill Winery in 2016, David Fawkes and his wife, Mary McAvoy, said they knew very little about growing and making wine.
The couple relocated from Sydney’s trendy inner west to Yas Valley for the chance to get closer to family and stretch their creative wings.
Mary’s background is in major event management, and David spent 20 years running international brand and marketing businesses.
“Moving from an urban environment surrounded by market forces to an area that is not well known locally is a challenge,” says David.
“How do you build the connections you need? How do you actually do things?
“The key was to be surrounded by locals with experience and expertise that we don’t have, to listen, to observe, to learn from others and the land itself.”
They were interested in growing, but not so much in the vineyards that had existed for 20 years before they came.
“We wanted to expand Taragandra Hill into more than a wine business,” said David.
“We wanted it to be a destination.”
It was clear to the couple that much of Taragandra’s potential lay in its location.
“Yas Valley derives its strength from being close to Canberra, if not close to Canberra,” said David.
“The fact that we are part of Canberra’s wine region is very valuable. As a winemaking community, we are geographically closer to the main heartland than any other wine region in the country. South Sydney people come to us in less time than in the Hunter Valley.”
David and Mary knew that if they could diversify their revenue streams into luxury boutique-style accommodations and establish themselves as a major event venue, they could establish themselves as a destination.
This strategy required unwavering dedication. Especially when smoke damage from the Black Summer wildfires wiped out his 2020 vintage, pushing the small business’s planned product sales to his $300,000 mark.
COVID caused an additional $250,000 loss in event cancellations. But David and Mary stuck to their game plan, hosting musicians and putting on events.
Once they’re out of isolation, they host a festival titled ‘We Love Local’ to “support local artists and producers while providing a variety of entertainment options for the fun-hungry community.”
It cemented what the couple had cultivated during difficult times: loyalty from the arts community and brand reputation.
“We have established ourselves as the preferred Canberra-area venue for artists,” said David.
Over the past 12 months, the winery has received over 4000 visitors.
In addition to private events, it has hosted 30 significant musical events featuring Jimmy Burns, Kate Severano, Darryl Brightwaite, Katie Noonan and more.
David said part of the unique Yas Valley Wine Region is its collection of “very small players.”
“If each of us were operating as an independent unit, we would have a very limited ability to grow what we do,” he said.
“If you can work collectively and collaboratively, you can greatly increase your opportunities.
“Mary and I believe that the reciprocity of referrals and collaboration with other people and businesses is one of the most important factors in our business success.”
This is why Tarragandra pairs wine with Maranbaitman Chocolates. We are collaborating on projects with other wineries in the area. Featuring beers and spirits from local breweries and distilleries. We expect valley producers to contribute to the offering. Refer all guests to local eateries and retailers.
This kind of collaboration and innovation is also the driving force behind ‘Connect for Success’, a series of free business events run by Yas Valley Business Chamber and Yas Valley Council and supported by the NSW Government.
In honor of Small Business Month (November), the “by locals for locals” series aims to bring new skills, ideas and networking capabilities to local businesses.
Highlighting Yas Valley’s strengths as a thriving small business community, Connect for Success enables budding entrepreneurs and business owners to showcase their expertise while connecting with local businesses and industry leaders. increase.
Events in venues across the Valley will cover topics ranging from social media to brand building, money management and staff retention.
Registration is required for all events.For more information visit our website
Original article by Dione David published on Riotact.