Three years ago I went to the Sydney Royal Easter Show and on the spur of the moment I signed up for a dozen selected Australian wines to be sent to me twice annually. It cost me $220 a case. A total $440 a year. It may seem a lot to pay for wine as far as some are concerned, but I like the idea of sampling what is produced in this country and I like a nice wine from time to time.
On February 12 this year, Destination Southern Highlands launched its Share the Love campaign. This is a great initiative intended to encourage people to support businesses, retailers and tourism operators who have been severely impacted by the Green Wattle Creek and Morton fires that have ravaged parts of the Southern Highlands.
I woke to the story popping up in the top spot on our Southern Highland News website and I put up a social post on Facebook. I wanted to get the message out to as many people as possible.
Then I noticed an email message that my next case of wine would soon be delivered. At that point I recalled a story I had done a week earlier about the award-winning success of a Highlands winemaker. It occurred to me that my first step in Sharing the Love should be to seek an option that enabled me to have a delivery of strictly Southern Highlands wines twice a year.
Now don't get me wrong - I have long enjoyed a Highlands drop - we are spoilt for great choice. If I go out for dinner I will choose a local wine if it is on the menu, and I have done my share of visiting local cellar doors and inviting out-of-town friends to do the same. But the switch to a selection of Highlands-only wines in my twice-a-year deliver was a conscious change in my shopping pattern that will hopefully help in some way. It is clearly a very small change. It may have very little impact on the big picture. But if everyone made changes such as this it could make a huge difference.
I pride myself on buying local where ever possible. I by no means have abundant funds, or get it right all the time, but I appreciate the value of supporting local. In a community with a population of about 49,000 people I am aware that if we all made even the smallest change and then invited family and friends to drop by for a visit - a bit of shopping, some dining and maybe even wine tasting - we could make a huge difference.
Every cent you spend could help ensure employment for another local person, who in turn will hopefully spend locally, again paving the way for more local jobs. Do you see the pattern?
Here is how you can become a pro-active part in the rebuilding of this community: visitsouthernhighlands.com.au/share-the-love