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Tuesday 14 April 2020

Tahbilk finds positives in difficult times

This was supposed to be a year of celebration for Victorian icon winery Tahbilk, which is celebrating its 160th birthday in 2020.

The team behind Victoria’s oldest family-owned winery are looking on the bright side in difficult times with owner Alister Purbrick saying: "Tahbilk has seen many a struggle in its 160 year history and has lived to tell the tale. We are determined that this hiccup will be no different.

"While we have had to postpone some celebrations, we’re planning for the party to end all parties later in the year."

With the wine industry suffering the age of Covid-19, fourth-generation CEO Purbrick said: “We’ve got some different news to share. We’re nearing the end of a good vintage which has run reasonably smoothly all things considered.

"We welcomed some European backpackers to our vintage team and they will remain in Australia for the time being. They’re now part of the wider Tahbilk family and we’re delighted they’re here.

“Clearly the pandemic has affected Tahbilk from a travel and tourism perspective with our restaurant closed for meals and the cellar door, although open, can’t conduct tastings, however, online wine sales continue and our cellar door is open to locals for retail purchases – essential at this tricky time.

"Of course we are observing strict hygiene and social distancing guidelines, but we’re still here to serve.”
The Tahbilk team is confident that these unforeseeable circumstances will see Tahbilk come back stronger than ever. And from a positive point of view, the good news is:

# There are no predicted long-term effects from the Covid-19 pandemic for the winery
# No infections among the staff and broader Tahbilk community
# The wine industry is considered "essential" enabling business to continue

#Mother Nature has been kind with no smoke taint affected grapes in the vineyards

Interestingly, export sales to China are also picking up after a complete shutdown during the height of their coronavirus outbreak. For Tahbilk, February and March sales into the mainland have been strong and there has been a shift in the mix of the wines being ordered.

“China is coming back strongly and quickly for us and it’s great to see given the many years and resources we’ve spent building our brand in that market." Purbrick says.

"What we have noticed is a shift towards the purchase of our premium portfolio, with our iconic 1860 Vines Shiraz and Old Vines Cabernet Shiraz being particularly popular, showing that Chinese consumers are keen for quality drops after a lull in their quality of life. They’re back in a big way which is great for premium Australian wine."

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