Being Brave @WineDayOut

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As part of Tasting Australia on 3rd May, I attended the Wine Day Out in Victoria Square, Adelaide. Thanks to the KI Food and Wine Association who kindly sponsored the cost of my ticket.  Wine Day Out is a day of TEDx-style short talks and panel discussions.  The overarching theme for the day was CULTURE (leading to an embarrassing moment where the omission of Acknowledgement of Country in the welcome speech was pointed out to the chair!).  The day was full of controversy and candidness and I thoroughly enjoyed the thought provoking speakers from wine, hospitality and marketing industries

13254189_1050794091643508_669419112751335985_nHere’s some food (wine?) for thought from those minds;

  • Be creative and innovative! Natural wines, living wines.
  • Youth of today are confident, adventurous and experimental – Freedom to the winemaker!
  • Fun first. Facts second.
  • By the glass preference led by trends of food matching and “in the moment, individual choice” rather than peer choice.
  • Is the 750ml bottle the best size?
  • Wine has to be delicious!
  • “Brand is a promise to a customer. Culture is how you deliver on it.” Didier Elzinga
  • People buy WHY not WHAT your selling.
  • Wine is all about the conversation, which now more than ever, is in real time and directly with the customer.
  • The most influential wine reviews at the moment are peer to peer.
  • A “Wineothetical” situation, posed in 2019 where alcohol restrictions are even greater than today, raised the wine industry responsibilities 1) to provide strong evidence for the benefits of wine in our society and 2) to enter and influence the debate and not be silent sitting ducks.
  • Sustainability and social conscience is important.
  • “Ban the dickheads not the wine!”
  • Wine transport temps and times are major concerns.
  • Wine growth depends on food!
  • Sense of Place, regionality
  • Don’t get a qualification, go out and travel!
  • Be Brave
  • “There’s room for all of us” Corrina Wright @OliversTaranga mic drop finale to her talk about #BeingBrave and WHY #womeninwine still need to speak out.
  • “People who say it can’t be done should not interrupt those that are doing it” George Bernard Shaw
  • Paul Henry wrapped the Day with a quote stating courage as the most important of all virtues.

Although Culture was the intended theme, one of “Being Brave” emerged naturally and resounded with so many different current events for me.

So, I’d like to celebrate Being Brave.  For my nephew bravely triumphing over a life-threatening illness, for my favourite girl moving over 2000km from her family home to follow her dream, and for me.  I will proudly take a traditional, ubiquitous product to the contemporary customer searching for something more in a fine red wine. Our wines are made and packaged to reflect our personal flair and life philosophy;

At SnowDragon Wines we signify and support integrity, excellence, respectfulness and fun!

Many of the speakers at the Wine Day Out reinforced doing your passion and sticking to it. As  Steve Jobs said “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition”. I remember Todd Sampson quoted at the 2013 AWITC (wine tech) conference “the difference between failure and success can be being brave for 5 minutes longer” and Nelson Mandela said “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”

images-1So remember, Fear is a challenge to be Brave!

(now I need a glass of red)

95 Halliday points YEH!

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Well, it is official.  SnowDragon Wines have won themselves silver and gold in the Halliday 2016 Wine tasting companion.  The 2013 Cabernet sauvignon was rated 94 and 2013 Shiraz 95 points securing a place in the most important wine tasting book published annually in Australia.  Whoo hoo!

While we already know our reds are exquisite, it does feel nice to get some amazing feedback from a reputable wine taster.  These wines have just been bottled after 2 and a half years on new oak and won’t be released until May this year.  “Kai’s Cabernet” and “Shalin’s Shiraz” are exhibiting some of my finest bottle art yet.  The Shiraz label was inspired by the amazing array of sea creatures and plants washed up when I was enjoying a special walk on Emu Bay after a big storm last winter. Click here to Become a Dragon member and receive the newsletter, revealing first looks at the new bottles and great deals on this summer’s exciting new release.  Click here to find a great guide for beachcombing on Southern Australian beaches.

Halliday recommends keeping some of this wine u 2033!  As if that’s going to happen………….

Is it your turn to live the dream?

Many of you have noticed the SnowDragon vineyard is for sale.  There is some confusion surrounding our plans, as expressed beautifully on Facebook by my Qld cous and web provider “wtf” ? So I’d like to give you the heads up.

The Bigwoods are entering Stage 2 of the SnowDragon journey.

With 5 vintages in the bag and 2 boys heading to high school we are winding back the grape growing and looking forward to a decade of academia, teenage adventures and wine sales (wait until you try the 2013 reds!).  SnowDragon Wines will continue to supply you with the good stuff for years to come yet.

We will miss the walks along Curlew Creek, the mushroom/fig/yabbie expeditions, kayaking on Dead Tree Dam, the swims at Emu Bay and the cup of tea I shared with the birds most mornings.  My hope is that we have instilled a lifelong love of nature and sense of connectedness into our children living this beautiful life.

Although we are not leaving Kangaroo Island for sometime yet, we hope that someone will grab the opportunity to make wines from this amazing little vineyard for another 25 years. Will you be the next young family to enjoy this special place as much as we have?

If you know anybody that might be interested, please tell them to contact SnowDragon Sue.

A Gorgeous SnowDragon Day

Our family went to the Gorgeous festival on Saturday.  Although going to festivals is one of our priorities in life – this was our first time to Gorgeous. Hosted by Alistair and Sally Cranney at the Serafino Winery in McLaren Vale this gorgeous day couldn’t be more up our alley!

It was HOT…..so of course, being in the mood to celebrate not only the unleashing of another Dragon, but also my birthday….we headed straight for the champagne bar. Enjoying the cool bubbles with an amazing fish taco we watched the boys ice skate from under the shade of an enormous gum.

Yes, I did say ice skating!

Unfortunately, the ice was not real, but the slipperiness was, and kids and adults alike pirouetted through the vineyard to the sounds of Sasha March, The Timbers and Little May waiting for the day to cool. A definite SnowDragon moment enveloped me as I smiled at the surreal combination of Ice skating, vineyards and a hot summer music festival.

Late afternoon we sucked on the best nectarine ice blocks I have ever tasted before settling into watch the Beautiful Girls and Waifs, sharing a lovely glass of red and some very delicious vegetarian “delectaballs” with beautiful friends.

The highlight for me was sitting in a ferris wheel cage at night, run by the most time generous wheel driver ever, looking over the dimly lit vineyards surrounding our campsite. A cool breeze in my hair and Xavier Rudd in my ears – A Gorgeous Dragon Day.

Perisher 2014 – The powder year


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Wow, what an amazing Australian Snow Season. It is officially the best July snow in New South Wales in 20 years.  No wonder the SnowDragon tweets, posts and blogs have been a bit slow coming!  While Andrew continues his pursuit of the perfect ride on his snowboard (apparently he came close last week!) I have decided to keep up the ski lessons I started in Japan earlier this year.  As I see it – it is an evolution from the snowboard to alpine skiing to back country touring of the stunning Snowy Mountains.

Being a person inextricably linked to nature and a little less tolerant of busy lift lines and icy speed slopes, I am quite excited about this adventure and my skiing is coming on in parallel turns and hockey stops!  While my husband always told me “it doesn’t matter what you do on the board as long as you look cool”, my ski instructor had almost the same advice “as long as you look pretty”.  Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll ever achieve either but we have some laughs.

Some exercises for the learner skier with an interest in wine;

– imagine you have two grapes tucked in the top front of your ski boots and press on them firmly but gently with your shins to make wine on your way down the piste!

– practise hands forward, palms down with poles balanced on wrists with an imaginary tray on the poles balancing a glass of Sparkling Shiraz and white Castello on water crackers.

– for the beer lovers, set your hands forward and apart – a bit like you are carrying a slab of Coopers Pale Ale, while doing chair pose(Utkatasana).

Dragon Dogs

Mukha posing in snowy viewSo I had to decide this morning whether to confess the awkward blonde moment in my social media adventure this morning. As I am a brutally honest person who loves to joke about her own regular stuff ups – here it is.!

I have a new plug-in that I am trialling – CoSchedule.  It helps a shamozal person like me organise their blogs and posts.  I can write for a whole day and schedule it to dribble out over weeks.  I can let you know through all of my popular SM pages that the post is out! etc.  Fantastic – I love it.

So last week in my excitement I practised putting a pretend blog into my calendar for release to my SM pages this morning.  I then of course forgot all about it, enjoying a lovely long weekend at home with my family and friends!  Until…….one said friend, responded to my auto-twitter pretend post “Have you got that link?” AAAAaaaaaghhhhh.

Tip 1 for CoSchedulers: Don’t schedule blog notice until blog written.

Anyway I wanted to mention my new webpage “Dragon Dogs“.  Our dogs are part of the SnowDragon journey.  They run around the vineyard eating grapes, sleep at my feet in the office, chase waves on the beach and love the snow.  Contemplating a view, with a wine in hand, is much better with a dog at your side.  AND as the legendary Peter Lehmann once said “You can’t make a good wine without a dog.” I love my dogs.

It seems that over the last few years many of my friends have said goodbye to their canine friends.  It must be a decade or so since we first included a pup in our adult lives.  I too said goodbye to the best Dragon Dog ever – “Mukha” (sanskrit for dog).  Mukha has travelled Australia for 14 years, joining in every adventure and been admired and loved by all that met him.  He was the least judgemental, most forgiving, loyal, patient and happy friend I’ve had. He rests at a special family property on Kangaroo Island.

In memory of Mukha we have decided to create a Dragon Dog page on the SnowDragon website.  Visit to meet our pups – the terrible two-some “Rafiki” and “Ruby”. If you would like to add your wine loving, beach combing, snowboarding pet profile contact me at sue@snowdragonwines.com.au

Branding The SnowDragon

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I am loving the journey of creating the SnowDragon Brand. The story is evolving and complex and it has taken some very talented people to help us develop the face of SnowDragon Wines. This is what happened today, under this beautiful still, sunshiny sky, while I watched with a great smile on my silly face! Today I feel the buzz of a solid and strong brand taking shape.  It is an amazing adventure giving your story tangibility and sharing it with the world.

Our inspirational and gorgeous designer, Tiffany Bell, in cahoots with my funky cousin and  webpage creator, Gabrielle Cooney, unleashed a new look, simple and sexy webpage, that even I can navigate, use and edit!  The slide show on the home page is spectacular with Kim Hudson’s SeaDragon photo and the famous SnowDragon poem, written by the warmest friend and coolest scribe, Noel Probert.

In the same breath, Cutler glass sent through the final proof for our sophisticated 2012 Sparkling Shiraz skittle (say that 5 times quickly).  These will be printed tomorrow and sent to our winemaker Michael Sykes for filling with some of the yummy 2012 table wine waiting patiently in barrel for its second ferment.

Just to top it off, I donned Andrew’s SnowDragon T-shirt (only a couple of sizes too big) for a promo shoot at the SeaLink office. I was 1 of 3 winners in the naming competition for the new café in the ferry terminal at Penneshaw.  Look out for SnowDragon Wines in the Sea Dragon Café!

I love our marketing team – thank you xx

Four seasons in one day…

What a weird day on Kangaroo Island.  The view from my window is obscured by wind-driven rain and grey clouds, even though yesterday was all blue skies and core-warming sunshine.  The sad thing is that Channel 9 have chosen today to film, Natalie Gruzlewski’s “When Love Comes To Town”, in little ‘ol Kingscote this morning.  I think half the town has turned out to see who the lucky local boys are and chance their own luck at being an “extra”!

The brilliant thing is we completed yesterday, another perfectly timed spray to ward off any mildews enjoying this weather. Our weeders; my mower, Big-blue (the slasher), my lovely cows and Brian’s sheep cannot compete with the enormous amount of rain we have had this winter.  It is a great start to the growing season. Floraison in the vineyard is a picture with Cabernet in full flower and Shiraz just kicking off.  The air is full of blossom and insects.  The birds and kangaroos are taking full avantage of spring with grebe nests on the dams, turkey chicks in the vineyard, magpie and galah fledglings competing loudly for the microphone………..Well that was yesterday.  Today it is winter again!

Tune in for petiole sampling, SnowDragon style next week.

Ride the Dragon – Our unfolding adventure

Welcome Dragon lovers to the SnowDragon story.

At SnowDragon Wines we are doing so many things in and out of the vineyard that we want to share our journey with you, our customers.

Our interest in wine began very simply.  We love to drink. In particular we love to drink an enjoyable, intriguing or enchanting glass of wine or spirit as a part of our “live life to the full” lifestyle.  We think wine drinking is a sensory adventure, starting with the challenge and excitement of the choice in the cellar and compliments many occasions, such as

– the quiet contemplation of a glass while listening to music, creatively writing, reading blogs or doing BAS!

– or sharing with friends over a delicious meal, bubbling spa, game of cards (I always win!) or lounging in front of a warm crackling fire.

Wine enhances life.

I should just take a moment to say, of course, we do hold off until later in the day and have wine free days and a very healthy diet with lots of water and exercise, as you should, to truly enjoy life’s guilty pleasures – like wine, chocolate, cocktails, TV, salt and vinegar chips etc. It is about balance, surely?. 

So, with this passion and an opportunity to take on an amazing vineyard, with a Kangaroo Island address thrown in as a bonus, here we are.  Even though the previous owners included my Mum and Dad (wine and blood are thicker than water!) we are on many steep curves. The art and science of wine production is not a small business for the light hearted and it has turned out that fine wine is even sweeter when drunk after the years of blood, sweat and tears that go into growing, making and maturing it!

So, we figure, as you go on this journey with us – you too may appreciate your wine drinking obsession even more and perhaps think about things you have never before associated with fine red wines ……..Snow and Leafy SeaDragons.?!