Smell the roses
Following the death of Don Lewis, several TKR readers have asked if the Tar & Roses brand will continue. It’s complex but we think it will. Don’s winemaking partner was Narelle King. We asked her if the 2016 vintage was the last in which Don was involved, and whether it would be the last altogether. She replied:
“Yes the 2016s are some of the last wines Don was involved in. We went ahead with the 2017 vintage basically because we just kept thinking he was going to get better. When he was in the hospital and able to speak we talked about the vineyards and picking timing etc. It was a nice distraction for him.
“Tar & Roses at this stage will go on. I’m not exactly sure how we will manage it but now that things are quietening down we will need to give the question some head space. It might just involve approaching things differently or maybe I will need to find another set of able hands to help.
“The Nagambie winemaking community were fantastic in helping us finish the vintage and get all the reds to barrel. It was a real testament to Don’s impact the way people rallied around. I shouldn’t just limit it to the winemaking industry as I had offers of help from all corners.”
The tricky part being: Don and Narelle did not own Tar & Roses. They owned the company that makes Trust Shiraz and Crystal Hill white, but not the T&R range. That, Narelle says, “is a separate entity owned by friends of Don”. So who does own Tar & Roses? We thought it part of the Casama Group, so we asked Casama and got this reply:
“David Jemmeson owns the business of Tar & Roses but within our group. Mezzanine is the distributor. Dave obviously has close ties to the group from his many years of working in the company which has meant a great working relationship between producer and distributor.”