Co-operation is the heart of the Barossa

barossa heritage

Co-operation is the heart of the Barossa

words by
jess greatwich // krondorf creek farm

Does anyone else remember a classic late 1980s Sesame Street segment where the Muppets are working together to build a community garden?

Here’s the link; beware of nostalgic YouTube marathons…

I distinctly remember loving this as a kid, particularly the groovy little pun about “Dig It!” as they all beaver away with their shovels, and the catchy earworm melody: “Co-operation, makes it happen! Cooperation, working together. Dig It!”

Even though it’s 30-something years since this was beamed out through Australian TV sets, I think there’s a lot we can learn in 2020 from this group of enthusiastic gardeners made from rainbow coloured felt.

In my last column, I wrote about the power of community as a compelling force for resilience and resolve in the face of the terrible bushfire season we had just endured; there was no way to know what would lie ahead.

So here we are, in Winter 2020. As I sit in front of my fire in my little Krondorf cottage with a glass of Cabernet to hand and sleeping children in their beds, I can’t help but feel a deep, almost fierce sense of gratitude.

In so many ways, the Barossa has been fortunate.

Yes, there have been clusters and media types leaping out from behind the bushes and of course I am mindful of the very real loss of life and the swathes of devastation this cuts through families and communities. But still, here, gratitude.

And a rising sense that if we are going to come through this we have to bring everyone along with us.

So, taking another cue from our little felt friends, I’d like to propose that the word of the day, nay, of the season is co-operation.

It’s at this moment that I recall the story about a prominent Barossa winemaker at an international showcase many moons ago.

When speaking to a group of very well-to-do international wine buyers, he was enthusiastically championing a range of Barossa wineries.

“If you love Shiraz, you’ve got to check out the Langmeil Freedom. Grenache? Can’t go past Marco Cirillo’s Old Vines. Semillon – Peter Lehmann” and so on (I’m sure you can imagine).

The well-to-do wine buyers were beside themselves to discover that they had met the Great Grandaddy of the Barossa!

They duly wined and dined him with a single-minded determination, believing that they were forging a steadfast relationship with the man who owned two thirds of the brands in the Barossa.

I’ve always wondered what their faces looked like when they discovered that he in fact owned exactly one of those brands and was just being genuinely enthusiastic about his mates who all owned the others.

It was quite unthinkable to the wine buyers that a potential client would recommend his ‘rivals’ to them.

I love this story because irrespective of how time and re-telling may have rounded a few of the edges, it reminds me of what is at the heart of the Barossa.

Generosity. Hospitality. A good yarn. A handshake deal or two.

So, as we rise to recovery in our beautiful region, let’s remember that it’s Barossa first. Sing the praises of your local business-owning mates. Let someone know they’re doing a stella job.

Put some money, visibility, resources, or time into someone else’s business and we will all reap what we sow.

In the midst of an uncertain future it is these same truths at the heart of the Barossa that will bring us through.

Co-operation. Working together.

Dig it?

Jess Greatwich


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