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NSW Success Stories – Scarborough Wine

Scarborough Wine, Hunter ValleyCREDIT: Megann Evans Photography

Scarborough Wine tasting pack.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

NSW Success Stories
– Scarborough Wine

Scarborough Wine, Hunter Valley CREDIT: Megann Evans Photography

Scarborough Wine tasting pack.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Hashtags #lovensw #newsouthwales

Since the 2021 lockdown began at the end of June, the work hasn’t stopped at Scarborough Wine Co. The team has successfully prepared the family-run Hunter Valley winery for an online-only existence, sending a taste of their cellar door direct to homes across the state, through mini wine-tasting packs and virtual Zoom sessions. In just a few short weeks, Scarborough Wine Co. has already hosted more than 90 online wine tastings for groups big and small and sold 1700 tasting packs, more than making up for their lost tourism trade.

It was a very quick decision,” says Sally Scarborough, co-owner of the winery, who developed the virtual tasting idea with her brother Jerome. We just went, ‘Right, what can we do to enable our staff to still get the hours of work they need, and what can we do to bring that cellar door experience to people at home?’ It's such an important part of our business, introducing people to who we are,” Scarborough says. 

The packs – which include five to six 100-millilitre glass wine bottles, tasting notes, a tasting mat and food suggestions – have continue to scale up since last year’s lockdown. The Scarboroughs invested in a new keg system that uses argon gas to fill the bottles and prevent oxidisation – a must to ensure the wines taste exactly as they should after transit. The team also put great care into their bespoke packaging. “We definitely put a lot of thought into how the packages would arrive to people, so that there could be joy in receiving and unwrapping them,” she says. 

Since June, the tasting packs have made up about 23 per cent of Scarborough Wine Co.’s online sales. “This lockdown has just seen a massive increase... we’ve been sending out between 115 to 300 tasting packs a week for the last six weeks,” Scarborough says. 

The online sessions haven’t just been a way to bring a taste of their collection to locked-down wine lovers, but the business pivot has also ensured cellar door staff have all kept their jobs, with added flexibility"Most of our tastings are on Friday and Saturday, from early afternoon through to the evening, which actually works really well for a lot of our staff who've got kids at home,” Scarborough says. "I'm really grateful that this gives my staff an opportunity to still be able take care of their families, but also feel secure in work, which is an important part of why we have done this. 

Scarborough Wine, Hunter Valley CREDIT: Jasper Avenue

Scarborough Wine cellar door.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Scarborough Wine, Hunter Valley CREDIT: Jasper Avenue

Scarborough Wine cellar door.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

The virtual wine tasting packs are reaching audiences far and wide. We've had people from Victoria, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and a corporate group in New Zealand,” Scarborough says.  

But the majority of customers booking these sessions is overwhelmingly from Greater Sydney – Sydneysiders looking for an escape from reality, or a lighthearted way to connect with family and friends during the monotony of lockdown. “We see it more as a kind of entertainment. We're not going into these tastings with a big sales pitch or anything like that – we see this as a great way to interact with our customers,” she says. “It's an opportunity for us to tell our story. Storytime with wine.” 

The popularity of the virtual tastings has been a pleasant surprise for the team, and the response from customers has been all positive, with many virtual tourists purchasing more wine after their tasting and booking more online sessions. “We've had lovely feedback” she says. I think for a lot of my staff, who are homeschooling in lockdown, that kind of feedback, that what they're doing is bringing joy to people, is invaluable.” 

Scarborough Wine, Hunter Valley CREDIT: Chris Elfes Images

Scarborough Wine, Gillards Road.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Scarborough Wine, Hunter Valley CREDIT: Chris Elfes Images

Scarborough Wine, Gillards Road.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

scarboroughwine.com.au 
Facebook: facebook.com/Scarboroughwine 
Instagram: instagram.com/scarboroughwines 
YouTube:
youtube.com/user/scarboroughwine 

For more information on the Hunter Valley and NSW wine regions go to www.visitnsw.com. 

Share your favourite holidays in Sydney and NSW on social media using @sydney #ilovesydney @visitnsw #lovensw 

The NSW Government via Destination NSW is sharing a series of NSW Success Stories – businesses of all types that have adapted their offerings to face the current environment and continue serving their community with a fresh approach and shining success. These innovative initiatives are nothing short of inspiring.

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