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Resilience, Vision and Courage

JKF quoting (Luke 12:48) once said “Those who much is given, much is expected”.

Spending yesterday visiting 4 amazing wineries in The Barossa, one of Australia’s most influential and internationally recognised wine regions; it reminded me that Resilience, Vision and Courage are the true currencies that shaped this region to what it is today.

It is easy to see magnificent estates on breathtaking land; filled with immaculate vines with inspiring stories behind every drop and assume “How Lucky are they to have this?”.  Then you learn about the history that was built on the backs of true pioneering WOMEN and MEN who worked together seamlessly and beat the odds to give us all a place we can visit, lose our worries, fall in-love again and as we say in French enjoy “ le Joie de vivre”.

Resilience taught through Sofie Schroeder, wife of Oscar (Benno) Pedro Seppelt from SEPPELTSFIELD winery (EST 1851). She had 21 pregnancies, 16 children, with 13 who survived to adulthood.  Sofie  & Benno’s desire to build a community beyond their business meant that their responsibilities to their workers went beyond the normal call of duty. Sofie herself would cook breakfast, lunch and dinner for 150 people everyday while still in charge of maintaining the business accounts. A full time job on it’s own.  Can you just imagine the dedication and commitment to doing our very best no matter what.

Vision taught through Oscare (Benno) Seppelt, who at 21 took over after the death of his father. Benno went on to expand SEPPELTSFIELD until by the turn of the 20th Century it was Australia’s largest winery producing 2 million litres annually. Visionary thinking Benno, back in 1878, selected a 500 litre barrel of his finest port wine, which would lay in one spot for 100 years to be released as Seppeltsfield 100 year old Para Tawny Port. He would go on to instruct his people to do this every year laying another 500 little barrel ready to be bottled and sold 100 years on. How could we ever underestimate the power of vision in brining to us something so perfect a century later.

Courage taught through Peter Lehmann from PETER LEHMANN OF THE BAROSSA winery, who’s personal bravery in 1979 saw him leave the security of paid work as a grape buyer and to protect the livelihood of his mates; the independent Barossa grape growers and their treasured vineyards.  Back then a slump in the wine industry saw our government offer growers money to rip out their vines.  The fruit buyers (of which Peter work for) said they would no longer be buying any grapes due to the glut of existing stock.  Peter felt responsible and took action by borrowing money to purchase the run down winery, which today bear his name.  Peter offered the growers to buy their grapes and would pay them when he sold the wine. Today around 150 growers continue to sell their grapes to Peter Lehmann. Imagine you risking for something greater than just you.  What would you feel 30 years on! “Priceless Payoff”.

I started this blog today with an important biblical quote.  One that reflects the weaknesses in our society and what brings news to our attention. It is a time when we have so much yet we see so little.  Never in history have we had so much. I hope we can reflect on this today and make decisions for tomorrow to build on something bigger than ourselves.

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