Rent-A-Row – Frequently Asked Questions

Will Rent-A-Row be going ahead in 2021 in light of Covid-19?

Short answer: Yes, so long as we are not under lockdowns. 

Our 2020 Rent-A-Row winemaking was able to go ahead for the most part – with changes due to restrictions, until we were ultimately locked down in March. Should this happen again, we will give you the option to defer to 2022 or be involved in some of the stages virtually. In 2020, we offered virtual pressing and virtual tasting packs for the racking/oaking stages. For some customers, deferring was not possible in which case we can offer an exchange for wine/beer or a refund and can certainly accommodate each customer as best we can. 

We are hoping for the best though and looking forward to getting our 2020 Rent-A-Row winemakers back to the winery in the coming months to bottle and then getting a good start to our Stomping Parties in 2021. We just have to schedule everything in accordance to group restrictions, but this is something we have gotten good at this year and we won’t let it stop the fun of winemaking in 2021.

 

Am I required to fulfil all stages? Can someone from The Shiraz Republic do it on our behalf and we take the glory?

You don’t have to attend all the activities associated with the winemaking. Even if you wanted to see how the pruning is done, you are welcome to just come up (drink some wine) watch and we will take care of the rest. The same is true for just about everything else as well. We will let you know when things are happening and if you can’t get there we’ll fill the gaps. The picking and the crush day is the BIG day, so you should make sure you can be at this. We usually have 4 – 8 picking/crushing days (Saturdays and Sundays) so there is some flexibility there as there is for most of the other activities. As always, we keep you updated as we head to each stage and of course, the glory remains all yours!

Can a group of people purchase a Rent-A-Row package? How many people can/should I bring?

The fun of making wine is best when experienced with family and friends.
Our Shareholder package is shared between 2 people. You can ‘add a share’ to increase your group size and receive more wine.

Otherwise, for a group we recommend buying one of our Demijohn (~3 dozen) , Double Demijohn (~ 6 dozen) or Barrique (~25 dozen) as this gives you your own batch of wine to share amongst yourself or a group and these packages don’t have any firm limits on numbers, just make sure you make enough wine to go around!

As for each stage (Demijohn packages), the numbers we recommend for each stage are:

Picking/Crushing, we recommend 2-4 people for a demijohn, 2-6 people for a double demijohn and 4-12 people for a barrique.

Pressing, we recommend 2-4 people for a demijohn, 2-6 people for a double demijohn and 5-10 people for a barrique.

Racking, we recommend 2-4 people for a demijohn, 2-4 people for a double demijohn and 3-5 people for a barrique.

Bottling, we recommend 2-6 people for a demijohn, 4-8 people for a double demijohn and 5-10 people for a barrique. We’ve noticed that most people want a bottle for helping, so make sure you will have enough wine for everyone.

How many bottles of wine will I get from my package?

The Shareholder Package received 6 bottles. Shareholders can order additional wine to take home at The Bottling Party.
The Demijohn package will yield 33 bottles.
The Double Demijohn package will yield 72 bottles.
The Barrique package will yield 300 bottles.

These are approximate amounts. Factors such as sediment, wastage and how much of the wine you drink while bottling can affect final number of bottles.

How long does each stage take?

Picking/Crushing takes around 2 hours total. We have a food truck here on the weekends during harvest, and encourage our Citizens to make a day out of the first stage.

Pressing takes about 45 minutes. As this occurs during harvest, you’re welcome to stick around for beer and wine, as well as food from the food truck.

Racking also takes about 45 minutes, depending on the amount of tasting enjoyed.

Bottling takes approximately an hour and a half, depending on the size of the package. Barrique packages will be bottled separately to the Demijohn and Double Demijohn packages, as we will use different equipment, and can be scheduled directly with us. 

What would happen if there was major damage to this year's planting? e.g. Frost, Flood, Fire etc

Whenever you are dealing with nature (or anything for that matter) there is always risk and risk management is a key consideration for us in running The Shiraz Republic. We have been making wine from our own grapes since 2005 and have during that time been through events like you have described: flood, mildew, fire, frost and drought.

  • In 2009 at the height of the Millennium drought when water was expensive and scarce we were able to access secure water through the pipeline which serves our property.

o   RISK STRATEGY – Vineyard is served by micro-drip irrigation. We have access to secure water through the Colbinabbin-Cornella Pipeline.

  • In 2009 and 2014 when there were large bushfire events in southern Victoria, the threat of smoke damage failed to materialise.

o   RISK STRATEGY – As a safeguard we did have our grapes scientifically analysed for smoke taint just in case. The wasn’t any.

  • In 2010 we had severe frost in the district – we suffered minor losses and made wine and supplied grapes to all our customers.

o   RISK STRATEGY – Ensure that wheat and canola crops are short stem varieties to allow cold air to flow away from the vineyard.

  • In 2013 we had a grassfire that started on a neighbour’s property and burnt half our vineyard. While we lost half the crop we reduced our own winemaking to ensure that customers received their grapes.

o   RISK STRATEGY – Major upgrade of our own fire-fighting equipment. Fire plan revised. No longer use straw mulch in vineyard.

Finally, our priority is supporting our Rent-A-Row winemakers and ongoing grape customers over all else. So in the event of a grape shortage for any reason, we choose to make less wine ourselves to ensure our customers have a supply of grapes for their winemaking. We have also extended our relationships with other vineyards in the district which give us an alternate source of supply in the event of a localised disaster. We refer to this as the long paddock, but the point is we will make sure you’re able to make an excellent Shiraz wine with us.

I received a Rent-A-Row gift, but I haven't had any contact from The Shiraz Republic.

A lot of the time when someone receives the fantastic gift of Rent-A-Row, their email address and phone number don’t get passed on to us.

In the lead up to Harvest, we send out an email to the person who purchased the package asking for contact details of the recipient.

If you haven’t heard from us, it is more than likely we don’t have your details. You can use the contact form below, or email us at info@shirazrepublic.com.au. Please include the name of the awesome friend who bought the Rent-A-Row package, as that is how it will be entered in our database.

If it has been a while since you received the Rent-A-Row gift, please get in contact with us to commence the winemaking process with the next vintage.

I want to start creating my label. What are the requirements?

We recommend using Canva online software. It is free and user friendly.

Our Demijohn, Double Demijohn and Barrique packages includes the printing of their own personalised label design.

The specifications for labels are:

– a single 152x102mm artwork, with 1mm bleeds (6in by 4in – a wide label that wraps around the bottle);

– 300 dpi resolution;

– we recommend using only the ‘free’ images and templates in Canva

– print ready (ie: all we have to do is print it with no editing to be made);

– outline all text;

– colour is CMYK;

– share with rentarow@shirazrepublic.com.au in Canva with editing ability. (Allows us to edit formatting and alignment for our label printer)

What's the rough schedule for the year?

Preparation

Pruning – June – July

Growing – September – February

Winemaking

Harvest (Picking and Crushing) – Mid-February – March

Pressing Off– 1-2 week after Crush (March)

Racking and Monitoring

Malolactic Fermentation – April – May

Racking & Oak Addition – June – July

Bottling and Labelling

Label design – September – October

Bottling – November – December

Drinking & Storage

Drinking – 1-2 years from bottling

Cellaring – 5-10 years

When can I book in for each stage?

All of our Rent-A-Row stages are booked via an online calendar booking system. When we are ready to take bookings, the link will be sent to you, and it will be a ‘first in, first booked’ basis. If you want to book in for a date that isn’t within the timeframe of the calendar, please contact us to find an alternative date that suits you and The Shiraz Republic.

At most stages of Rent-A-Row, we are able to give you an idea of the timeframe for the stage in advance, so you can coordinate your group. This usually means we have a number of people wanting to ‘pre-book’, but unfortunately, we are unable to book Citizens into the system prior to the calendar going ‘live’.

We understand that most of the stages of Rent-A-row are at times of the year that are busy for a lot of people – it’s busy for us as well, with both the winery and our personal lives. We try to give as much notice as we can so you can organise your visit. Please see the FAQ ‘What’s involved in Rent-A-Row?’ for a rough guideline on when each stage occurs. We also try to give information at each stage on what’s happening next.

When can I drink my wine?

Each wine will be different, but we recommend trying your wine early but it’s likely that it will reach it’s prime after 1-2 years. If the wine is tasting young, we recommend using a decanter to aerate the wine. Many young wines can be tight or closed on the nose or palate. As the wine is slowly poured from the bottle to the decanter it takes in oxygen, which helps open up the aromas and flavors. Highly tannic and full-bodied wines benefit most from this – wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet blends, Shiraz, and Shiraz blends.

Decanting a young wine is easy: Just pour it into the decanter. Let it sit for twenty minutes or so before you serve it, and you’ll likely notice a dramatic increase in subtlety and complexity. If you have the luxury of time, continue tasting the wine over a period of hours. It may keep evolving and improving. If you’re patient, you will be able to experience the maturing of your wine over a number of years with careful cellaring – enjoy it however you feel. 

When does the harvest start?

Harvest starts in February/March, depending on what the season has been like. A hotter summer usually means an earlier start, while a wetter summer tends to delay harvest.

We regularly update our Instagram, Facebook and blogs in the lead up to harvest, to keep our Citizens well informed.

Can I bring my own lunch?

You are welcome to bring your own lunch, snakcs or platters.

We will be offering food on most Rent-A-Row days, either our house pizzas or via a food stall, so please support the food stall if they are present – otherwise we have no issue with self-catering. 

Please note that our licence doesn’t allow BYO alcohol.

 

Can I bring my dog?

Yes! Dogs are welcome to come play with our wine dog Annie, kelpie/blue heeler cross.

From time to time we have other animals on the farm (chooks/sheep), so please keep your dog on a lead if they are the chasing type. 

Unfortunately, we cannot allow dogs inside our winery or bar area, but they are welcome to enjoy our spacious outdoor areas.

How long does it take to get to The Shiraz Republic?

From Moonee Ponds, it will take about an hour and 50 minutes.

From Burwood, it will take about two hours and 15 minutes.

From Sandringham, it will take about 2 hours 20 minutes.

From Narre Warren, it will take about 2 and a half hours.

From Werribee, it will take about 2 hours.

From Echuca, it will take about 50 minutes.

From Bendigo, it will take about 40 minutes.

From Shepparton, it will take about an hour and 10 minutes.

These are approximate travel times only. Please factor in things such as weather, traffic, roadworks when planning your trip.

What do I do when I get there? Do I need to get there early?

If you’re visiting to work on your wine, enter via the first gate (vineyard) park along fence, then have a cuppa (or a beer or wine!) at the cellar door.

Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your booking time. This allows you to stretch your legs, visit the facilities and enjoy the view of the vineyard before we get started.

How do I get there?

The best way to find us is to enter ‘The Shiraz Republic’ into Google Maps. Our address for Google (and most modern map services) is 507 Hamblin Rd, Cornella VIC 3551.
Older satnavs won’t recognise this address but may have success with 1515 Heathcote-Rochester Rd, Cornella VIC 3551. Call 03 5433 6338 if you get lost!

Can our kids be involved?

Kids are always welcome at the Republic!

All kids remain under your supervision. Please be advised that some of our Rent-A-Row equipment isn’t recommended for kids under 6 years old. We also have a friendly wine dog named Annie, who loves to chase a ball or stick (but doesn’t like giving it back to be thrown again!).

Have another question not shown above? Please email us using the form below.

Rent-A-Row Enquiry