Shaun Crinion went into last year's Halliday Wine Companion Awards knowing that being named James Halliday’s Best New Winery for 2018 would boost Dappled Wines’ profile. In terms of specifics however, he wasn't sure how that would happen or what the flow-on effects would be. “I thought I would probably get more sales and interest in the wines through trade, but [what happened] was the opposite. I got a lot more interest direct from consumers,” he explains. “I sold a lot of wine directly off the bat of the award through my website. I normally would have sold about 10% of my production through direct sales, whereas it went up exponentially after the award.”
It wasn’t just local wine-aficionados that reached out to Shaun. He also fielded requests from the international market. “It was a big thing for me,” Shaun says. “I got a lot of interest from overseas export, which, amazingly enough, I wasn’t really able to take on because I don’t have the quantity to do it or the wines to do it. I’m still getting more people chasing me now and I just don’t have the volume of wines.”
Expanding Dappled’s presence into overseas markets is on Shaun’s future radar, however for now, the focus is on solidifying the Dappled brand throughout Australia. In the last 12 months, Dappled's distribution has grown to include Sydney – something Shaun attributes to the award win – and his wines are now appearing on the wine lists of some top restaurants. In response to the demand, Shaun has increased his output to 1000 cases – up from 800.
While Shaun has no immediate plans to add a cellar door to Dappled's vineyard (wine tastings are currently available by appointment only), it isn't something that is completely off the table. First on Shaun's agenda though, is beginning to think about how he might like to celebrate Dappled's 10th anniversary, happening in 2019.
Looking back on the past year, Shaun says he would only change one thing and it ties back into the challenge he faced of not having enough stock to supply local consumers. “I wish I would have had a bit more stock to sell directly. I had no idea how much wine I would sell!... I wish I had held more back because direct sales is the most important thing for a small producer.”
As for the winner of the 2019 Best New Winery, Shaun has one simple piece of advice: “Enjoy the ride. It’s fantastic.”