What makes a great wine? Free draining soils, perfect weather, an intuitive winemaker? Yes, all of the above. Yet there’s one ingredient that’s not often spoken about when judges swirl a wine around in their glasses and assess what makes it exceptional.

At Lawson’s Dry Hills, the essential ingredient in all their wines is teamwork. That seamless interaction between diverse talents has a direct influence on growing the best grapes possible from the vintage and in turn, making the best wine. So, while Lawson’s Dry Hills is deeply rooted in the country’s top wine growing region, it’s teamwork as well as terroir that makes the difference.

One of the catalysts for such teamwork didn’t originate at a corporate seminar or from a management philosophy, it’s a little more spontaneous than that. It happens every morning at 10am as everyone from the winery, main office and the vineyard down tools and meet up for a 15-minute smoko. This team get-together ignites conversation and fires up a break from the pressures of crafting, marketing and selling award-winning wines.

The camaraderie is infectious as the team meets around a long table at the Alabama Road winery and share a coffee or tea, perhaps some home-baking or a morning tea shout for a birthday. Regardless of the pressures even at busy times of year, everyone makes an effort to pause from whatever issues are impacting that day.

As we all sat together during one rather chilly Tuesday in early December, it was a jovial affair. The co-founder of Lawson’s Dry Hills, Barbara Lawson, was in attendance, along with the viticulturist, both winemakers, the general manager, marketing team and support staff.

Barbara’s home made trifle

The Stuff quiz is a tradition during these morning breaks with questions reeled off from either the newspaper or phone. It was all over in a mere 15 minutes, but the benefits have an impact on the whole day and contribute to the enduring team culture.

Morning smoko is symptomatic of what’s occurring across the broader landscape in the more progressive modern businesses. As workplace pressures increase, many workers feel compelled to spend meal breaks hunched over their keyboards- or many have no breaks at all in the quest to get ahead. Yet studies have identified that mental health and productivity ramp up as individuals collaborate and mandatory time-outs are incorporated into workdays. At Lawson’s Dry Hills, this morning break is founded more on what feels good rather than science, yet the effect is much the same.

In the same way that award-winning wines are a complex balance of fruit flavours, tannins, texture and acidity, creating these wines is the result of a cohesive interaction between diverse talents. The continued success of Lawson’s Dry Hills in wine shows and with growing global sales, indicates that this group of individuals come together as a great team.

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