Ed Murray and Marianne Lethbridge have harnessed a multitude of new skills since taking up the challenge of further developing Vintner’s Secret, a popular Childers vineyard.
“We feel we can accurately tag ourselves as ‘change pioneers’ given the scope of the new skills we have garnered since purchasing the vineyard in 2007,” said Marianne.
Originally known as Stanton Estate, the vineyard is one of two in Childers that farms its own grapes and one of three that offers cellar door sales.
Ed and Marianne have operated the vineyard and catered to its expansion, particularly in the area of tourism, for more than 12 years.
“We knew absolutely nothing about growing grapes or wine making when we decided to purchase the five-and-a-half-hectare property,” said Ed.
“All we knew was that we wanted to grow something. We wanted to be in agriculture.”
“This property was very well set up by the previous owner Keith Stanton who provided quality advice on growing and harvesting grapes and maintaining the 3000 vines planted here.
“We also have membership with the South Burnett Wine Growers Association and the help and advice they continue to offer is invaluable,” said Ed.
Marianne said when using the term ‘change pioneers’ she was alluding to the broad range of new skills she and Ed have learned since they took ownership of Vintner’s Secret.
“It really has been a case of listening to our visitors and taking on board some of the suggestions they shared with us, mostly across the bar at wine tastings.”
“That bar certainly could tell a few stories,” laughed Marianne.
“But I think that is the conviviality of wine. It promotes causal conversation and some wonderful ideas that have enhanced our business and resonated with our visitors have originated over a shared bottle of wine.”
“Educating people as to the capability of our property at this Queensland location to produce quality wines is something we endeavour to do. There are a lot of misconceptions and inaccurate information that the area is too hot to produce good wines.”
Marianne said developing more gardens had led to Vintner’s Secret being a venue of choice for people seeking a leafy tranquil setting for a wedding or a special occasion.
“Catering is also something on which we have focussed very successfully. The Bundaberg Region really has so much to offer in food and wine, making it an area of tourism that has unlimited potential.”
Marianne said the vineyard had also continued to play a role during the annual Childers Festival by holding a Picnic in the Vines.
“It is also a passion of mine to be involved in arts and crafts and we have been able to cater to art in many forms.
“Art days, book readings and song writing are some of the very successful events we continue to enjoy and to share with our visitors,” said Marianne.
She said one visitor had revealed she would like to undertake welding to build some original items for her garden, but she felt her husband lacked the patience to teach her.
“Ed is a qualified TAFE teacher with welding ability, so we developed a “Women in Welding” course which was hugely successful.”
The mood of Vintner’s Secret promotes quiet reflection as well as providing the perfect location and setting for Devonshire Teas, meals or shared platters of gourmet delights.
While continuing to hold a passion for Vintner’s Secret and the lifestyle it offers, Ed and Marianne are looking to eventually pursue other challenges and opportunities.
“The vineyard has given us many wonderful years, just as it did for the original owners. It’s a legacy and a lifestyle that we would like to pass on to someone else with a similar passion.”
Ed and Marianne can be contacted on 41261255. The vineyard is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10am until 4pm.