On Tuesday March 17, Brendan Carter, founder of dynamic Adelaide Hills winery Unico Zelo, sent an email to his subscribers entitled “Let’s do something crazy”.
The letter began, “Well, things have certainly hit peak-crazy in the last week haven’t they? We’ve just finished contending with bushfires affecting our harvest and regional tourism, and now a global pandemic has induced panic and isolation.”
He goes on to talk about the measures – such as self-isolation and working from home – that he, the company and the world have put in place to curb coronavirus and protect people’s health. Self-isolation, he says is the right thing to do, but it can lead to loneliness. “What’s unusual is that now we’re isolated from each other too, and that’s painful for a team that values the camaraderie and jovial relationships of their co-workers ... Isolation is one of the main things Unico fights against daily [by creating] products designed to bring people together.”
His solution? Digital Happy Hour.
From Friday March 20, at 5pm Adelaide time, Carter will crack open a bottle of wine and chat over a couple of glasses of vino with anyone who would like to join him via a Facebook Live stream. “You can come with questions, comments; hell, I don’t even care if you want to troll me. If you want to have a face-to-face conversation with someone while raiding your own wine stocks, I’ll be there, wine glass in hand and ready for banter, good or bad.”
Another one of his brands, Applewood Distillery, will be doing a similar thing. Brand ambassador Henry Hammersla will live stream via Facebook each night at 6pm, for a show that's been coined "Cocktails and Covid". He'll be offering recipes (last night he chatted about the Quarantini), among other things.
Carter (who owns Unico Zelo along with his wife, Laura) will of course be drinking one of his Italian-inspired, textural and site-expressive vinos during the call. If you don’t have a wine stock to draw from, Unico Zelo has released a lucky-dip mixed-dozen Coronavino care package, which you can get delivered to your door. It comes with a 20 per cent discount and free shipping (Australia Post is waiving compulsory signatures on delivery). He says the pack could include a bottle of Jade & Jasper fiano, or one of either the just-released Pipe Dream nero d’Avola or the Panda Panda fiano.
“This is one way we can enjoy the company of others even in the most challenging times,” he says.
Brendan Carter will live stream via the Unico Zelo Facebook page at 5pm Adelaide time every Friday from March 20. Henry Hammersla will stream nightly at 6pm via the Applewood Distillery Facebook page.