I am so delighted to share an update with you about Melissa and Clint’s adventurous move to their vineyard and farm in the South West of Western Australia. They have exciting news to share with us:
It brought a tear to our eyes as, together, we fixed the very first label to our first product, a Chardonnay. After two long years we were ready to officially launch our small family business.
In March 2015 we made a decision to move from Perth’s concrete Jungle, and to give up a fifo mining salary, in order to chase a dream of establishing a small family vineyard in the country. Our chosen property consisted of two messy vineyards, old machinery, a wine shed and a liveable shed. We have called this shed home for two years while we build our new family home on site.
Three key things quickly became apparent when we moved. Firstly our vineyard needed work, a lot of work! Without having love nor care for close to six years, our vineyard was overgrown and filled with (thankfully treatable) disease. Secondly, we identified why many vineyard owners enter the industry with a significant amount of capital backing… We entered with one salary and minimal capital. Lastly, we were in over our heads working with a challenging crop, lacking the knowledge or experience required to provide our vineyard with the love and care needed to bring it back to its former glory. Although these challenges appeared significant, they only fuelled our passion and desire for building our business and offering quality wine.
It is fair to say that the last two years have been rather hectic. We have both kept our business moving in a positive direction by generating income working for an employer situated over 100km’s from home. We launched our honey and olive oil product lines, however that proved to be more of a hobby rather than an income stream.
In addition to working, we are completing the rehabilitation effort on our vineyard. We provided our friends, family and the public with an opportunity to sponsor a row of vines, in order to assist with the rehabilitation effort. We are so very thankful for the amount of support received with this offering.
Clint and I have both taken up study in viticulture and agriculture respectively, in order to develop the key knowledge required to provide our vines and land with what they need in order to grow and thrive. In addition to this study, we were keen to launch our wine as soon as possible, without compromising on quality. This is where our neighbour joins our journey. When he first met us, he did not see potential competition, he saw a young couple with a dream. We could never thank this well respected winemaker enough for giving us his time and sharing his experience with us. Without him, we would not have had the opportunity to release such a high quality product to the market in 2017. It is our goal to work together in order to showcase the quality of wine offered in the Manjimup and surrounding areas. We are also passionate about proving how collaboration and working together will result in taking our industry to the next level.
Although this seems like a significant couple of years, we saved our greatest achievement for the end of this chapter. In December 2016, we welcomed our first child, a daughter, into this world. Even at just 5 months, Piper is thriving, surrounded by too many farmyard pets, including our ‘cellar dog’ Paris, her future family business (should she choose it) and two adoring parents. We know that she will grow up all too soon and will love nothing more than to explore our land, with Paris at her side.
On reflection, we have travelled far in our journey, but the truth is we have really only just begun. The next couple of years will see Chateau June-Jerome continue to deliver quality wine, and we are seeking opportunities to stock our products in restaurants and boutique bottle shops across Perth. All of our vine rows will be rehabilitated and producing chemical free fruit, and we will start the expansion into new and exciting varieties. We will also start planning to open our land up to the public, with the development of a cellar door.
If you would like to continue following us on our journey, or even check out our wine, please visit our website, http://www.chateaujune-jerome.com/ or on our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/chateaujj/
Here are the links to Melissa and Clint’s earlier adventures and journey: