Mount Nathan Winery continues to adapt to the “new normal” having felt the full effects of international travel restrictions.
The winery is set on 3.2ha (eight acres) in the Gold Coast hinterland and before COVID-19 relied heavily on international visitors.
Director Paul Gibson (pictured below) said up to 120 international tourists, mostly Taiwanese, would pour out of tour buses each day to sample Mount Nathan’s wines and leave with bottles of their favourites.
However, the pandemic saw that market disappear overnight.
“Pre-COVID our business was mostly international tourism, so we have had to do not so much a 360-degree jump but more of a 720-degree jump trying to figure out what the hell is going on,” Paul said.
“But everyone is in the same boat.”
One of about a dozen wineries in the hinterland, although Paul says they are not always open at the same time, Mount Nathan will be relying on domestic visitors for the foreseeable future.
“Now we are looking at 10 people visiting per day for the weekdays and maybe 40 people on the weekends,” Paul said.
“The locals have been a godsend, but we are looking forward to a new normal, whatever that normal may be.”
Paul said being so close to the Gold Coast was a bonus for Mount Nathan.
“People want to go to a safe bet like the Gold Coast as a tourism hub,” he said.
“It’s a safe bet. There is a lot to do, a lot to see and you will have fun.”
Despite its rural setting, Mount Nathan is easily accessible from the Coast, being about a 20-minute driver from Surfers Paradise.
Paul’s father Peter founded Mount Nathan Winery in 2002 and it has gone on to become an award-winning business.
The Gibson family has been making alcohol for generations.
“My granddad was the co-founder and director of Central Coast Winery (New South Wales) from 1970-2002,” Paul said.
“Before that my family were homebrewers for a couple of generations, predominantly in the Hunter Valley, the Barossa Valley and even Norfolk in England.”
Mount Nathan makes premium wines from grapes grown in south-east Queensland and honey wines produced entirely on site, from the harvesting of honey from about 200 hives on the property through to bottling.
During a short tasting session, it quickly became clear that Paul loves the part of his job that allows him to stand behind a bar, serving and talking about his wines.
“I love to talk, the problem is getting me to stop talking,” he admitted.
He explains the taste sensations a less-informed wine drinker is experiencing in clear, simple language and with good humour.
He said of the Bubbly Brut, which I sampled first: “It’s very light, semi-dry bubbles. It uses the traditional French methodology of a champagne-style beverage which means it’s a very light, very fine, softly popping bubble on the tongue and doesn’t have much of that soft-drink fizz at the back of the throat and start of the tongue. It’s more of a delicate pop.”
Of the Cape Points Red I tried next: “It is the lightest semi-dry red we have and it’s a cabernet merlot with virtually no tannic acidity, so it’s not going to have that harshness in the throat.”
Paul said he preferred talking in simple language to his customers, most of whom were “average punters”, like myself.
“At the moment our guests are very much the average punters which I love because it means I don’t need to get all viticultural and scientific and start altering my vocabulary and my whole perception of being,” he said.
“It just means I can start serving people and talk to them.
“All of our wines we have designed to be ridiculously easy-drinking beverages so that non-connoisseurs can come in and find a bottle of wine that they really like.
“The connoisseurs also come in and they feel compelled to buy wines by the case. I compel them to buy by the case.”
Contact Mount Nathan Winery for more information and opening times or to book a wine-tasting session.
Call RACQ Travel on 1300 888 449 or visit the website to plan your next south-east Queensland break.
The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.