Newsletter Volume 17

Newsletter Volume 17
November 2019

Dear highly-valued Wine Club Member,

Have you ever pondered why you have achieved this exalted station? Is it because of your pivotal position in society, your extraordinary knowledge of vinicultural affairs, your proclivity for spending large sums on wine  ..  or just because I dobbed you in? You guessed it!

Anyhow, I love writing to you. It seems some of you like receiving the newsletter too. Over the last two years, we’ve had only three unsubscribes. Hearteningly, nearly forty of you have elected to join in. I thank you genuinely. As I hunt and peck on the typewriter, I think of many of you personally. I hide subliminal messages in the text. Do you recognise them?

The Vineyard

Despite being surrounded by a parched landscape, the vines are flourishing. The foliage has reached the top wires and we are trimming regularly. The primitive bunches are now adolescents with all the promise that entails. Our disease control measures have been effective. Weeds are almost nonexistent and our extremely valuable insects are in perfect harmony.

It is likely we will have to lower the sides of the hail netting in a fortnight and cover the remaining rows with temporary bird netting. These bloody birds are a real pest. They pierce a few berries on random bunches before moving on. This exposes the entire bunch to disease, rot and underperformance. We have gas-activated canons that create a mighty BOOM sounding off regularly. Either the birds are deaf or they’re rapid learners. The deterrent factor lasts a day or so only.

As we approach the New Year I will call on you all again for help. Vintage is an exciting time as many of you recall. More than 80 of you assisted with the 2019 vintage. Harvesting the luscious ripe fruit is an extraordinary thrill and your presence is greatly valued. Please keep tuned.

The Cellar Door

This has been a marvelous new chapter in our lives. We now employ a team of about 15 in various forms of full-time and part-time endeavour. Every single body is from the Scenic Rim, and so proud to be so. It had not occurred to me previously just how cohesive and united this Shire is.

Guests continue to arrive in increasing numbers. Bookings grow continuously. Random visitors are astonished at what they see as they crest the final mound before seeing the lake. Repeat visitations provide invaluable encouragement for us all.

The winter menu has gently metamorphosed into a spring/summer offering with local farm produce, gourmet plated dishes, grazing platters, fresh seafoods and mouth-watering desserts. Everything is carefully created to match our six (6) splendid Estate wines perfectly.

As our reputation has grown, so have we been determined to attain and maintain the highest standards of service and quality. Every social medium is trolled regularly and we take special note of guests’ comments on Facebook, Instagram and Trip Adviser. We still have our coveted 5 STAR rating.

Understand though that we do sometimes fail to meet expectations. As painful as a negative review can be, it is looked upon as an opportunity to review, regenerate and respond with positivity. We can catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Our visitors are always correct, we will always strive to be better, and together, TOE 1895 will continue to flourish.

The Property

The perfect storm has been brewing for a few years. Land clearance approvals are scarce. Back burning is very limited. The days appear to be hotter and drier. Forest fuel is at a peak. Little wonder that our skies are filled with smoke, haze and dust.

The region has suffered terribly with bushfires and the season remains young. We have spent countless hours servicing pumps, checking hoses, clearing fire breaks and formulating defensive plans. The Homestead, workshop, machinery shed, Cellar Door and worker’s cottage seem safe enough on the island. Mind you, nothing can confidently evade 60 kph winds, flying embers and fire balls that jump scores of meters in one leap.

The horses and cattle are still sufficiently comfortable with feed and water although we’ve had to resort to expensive supplements. Three of our geldings are retired racehorses and live the lives of Riley. The recent ABC 4 CORNERS programme exploring the retired bloodstock industry exposed a vastly different scenario. Our boys are dearly loved, and it shows.

What else?

Transitioning from medicine to agriculture has been a fascinating journey. Whilst positive reflections predominate, dealing with government employees and statutory authorities has been challenging. In fact it has been unpleasant on occasions, and unnecessarily so.

Regulations are designed to mitigate risk, not extinguish drive, determination, productivity and advancement. Not all regulators are bad, but some are. I am bound to say that whilst there are some admirable and professional Seqwater employees, their attributes are seriously eroded by a destructive, obstructive minority. More on this next time maybe. Detect an edge?


Christmas is a month away. We have marvellous gift options, can cater for a broad spectrum of celebratory events, and will remain open every day except the big birthday.

Please make a point of calling, or visiting, or both: 04 55 22 1895

Warmest regards

David Morgan (and Nero)