Gundog Estate has created a special bottling of 2019 Hunter Shiraz in partnership with Path 2 Change with 100 percent of profits going directly to support disadvantaged and homeless youth in the Hunter Valley region.
Branded ‘The Lived Experience,’ the wine carries a hand drawn label symbolising the journey of young people from struggles with broken homes and families to support, freedom and hope for the future.
“The past two years have been tough for us and most others in the region. However, through our work with Path 2 Change, we know that disadvantaged and homeless youth are doing it even tougher. Their needs have escalated significantly, and Path 2 Change now has more clients on their books than ever before,” Gundog Estate winemaker Matt Burton says.
The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (June 2021) paints a sobering picture of the impact Covid-19 had on youth employment in the region.
The youth unemployment rate in the Hunter Valley region is 14.7 percent and, in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie area it is 15.6 percent.
These rates compare to the state average of 12.5 percet, which hardly makes things any brighter.
“We have seen more young people being forced into homelessness due to family breakdown because of Covid, and the lockdowns. Many families have lost their incomes, causing added stress resulting in an increase in domestic violence, and drug and alcohol abuse,” Path 2 Change CEO Jennifer O’Sullivan says.
“Young people are also experiencing increased mental health challenges and are at a higher risk of suicide due to isolation, in addition to already being disconnected from family and social supports. Our young people are requiring more support than ever during this time.”
As part of its sustainability program, Gundog Estate formed a partnership with Path 2 Change back in September 2018, and since then the boutique wine producer has supported their work through fundraising at wine club events and at Gundog’s two cellar doors.
“We share in Path 2 Change’s philosophy: the best way to break the cycle of youth homelessness is through education and employment,” Matt says.”
And so, via fundraising and a hospitality work experience program at our Hunter cellar door, we have supported Path 2 Change in getting young people into safe accommodation, education, training programs, and crucially – jobs.
“Unfortunately, the pandemic crippled our fundraising and work experience activities at a crucial time.”
So, we wanted to come up with a creative way to support their clients, especially once we heard just how hard they were doing.”
A little over 1,000 bottles of the 2019 The Lived Experience Shiraz have been produced, with the wine available for sale at $35 a bottle and in six packs for $210.
Wanting the wine to truly represent the experience of young people in this situation, Gundog Estate asked Path 2 Change to design the label.
The brief was to bring to life part of their story or their goals for the future.
The label was created by Abby (not her real name) who has worked with homeless youth for 15 years.
“I’ve seen the absolute tragedy and trauma caused by family breakdown from physical and emotional abuse, domestic violence, drug abuse and poverty,” she says.
“However, I have also seen the resilience and courage of young people towards independence and choosing a better future for themselves.
“I also experienced homelessness as a young teenager and again as a single mum with my two young children.”
This lived experience has helped me understand their challenges as well as their triumphs.”
If you look closely at my picture, you will discover many symbols of the journey of our young people from broken families and relationships, struggle and to support, freedom and a future.”
The Gundog Lived Experience 2019 Hunter Shiraz is now available through Gundog Estate’s website and cellar doors.