Not too long ago, the social media landscape as we know it today was a little bit different. If you called yourself a blogger, expectations were set that by attending a media event or weekend away, in exchange you would offer blow-by-blow, instantaneous updates, accompanied by a good filter and snappy copy. So recently, when we received an invitation by the very kind Mira Weiner of McGregor Country Getaways to a weekend away at Laurel Cottage with no strings attached, we were floored.
‘It’s been a tough year, so if you ladies ever need a break and want to come out in McGregor for a little escape, just let me know’ – Mira.
IT’S BEEN A YEAR
2020 was rough. This isn’t news. It was especially tough for those working in wine and hospitality. Following three separate bans on the sale of alcohol and the closure of international tourism, our beloved industries were truly under siege – and in part, it felt like we were too. As two women in wine marketing, we thought: who’s marketing when no one’s selling? Well, if you happened to be curious, this is what we’ve been up to – from the horse’s mouth:
Gosia: “I’ve been running my Gosh! Wine Marketing consultancy business for 3 years now, and this past year was definitely the most interesting! When local work scaled down due to the ban, I decided to pivot and focus on acquiring international US wine clients. That adapt or die mentality has actually been super beneficial, and while it’s required an adjusted weekday schedule to fit in evening calls and meetings, I’m loving the challenge and learning curve! My speciality is wine writing and brand strategy, and I’ve really been keeping my head down to continue to bring the best to my job and my clients every day”
Kristen: “Two months before the world turned upside down, I took up a new role at PUBLIK Wine heading up content and comms for their e-commerce ventures including CyberCellar, which the company had recently acquired. Fun fact: CyberCellar is SA’s oldest existing online retailer (technically Kalahari.net is older, but that was absorbed into Takealot). Covid, lockdown and alcohol bans aside, there was a crazy amount of work to do to refresh the site, brand and portfolio – but we did it, and I’m so proud of our little team for what we’ve managed to achieve in these crazy times. We’re also working on a new online offering for PUBLIK, so watch this space. I’ve been a little quiet on the writing side outside of work (due to sheer busy-ness!) but winning Veritas Young Wine Writer for 2020 was a lovely feather in my cap, so hoping to build more capacity for my own writing over the coming months.”
With this update, and as we’re sure you can appreciate, when we received the invitation from Mira to visit McGregor, we couldn’t wait to take her up on the offer! We’ve both been stressed, overwhelmed and busy busy busy, and a peaceful getaway sounded magnificent.
And so, one late-summer weekend in February, we packed up our car on a Friday with one friend and one husband in tow and made the two-hour drive out to the Western Cape town of McGregor.
A MANDATE FOR SLOW BLOGGING
Perhaps it was that fresh country air, or just the prospect of a weekend out of the city to clear our heads, but the moment we arrived in McGregor, we felt a sense of calm. Something we hadn’t felt for a while.
The evening crickets serenaded us as we walked up the steps of Laurel Cottage, and the farm-chic style of the house transported us to a simpler time. By morning, as we walked through the garden orchards made up of ripening pomegranates, lemons, olives and pears, something clicked for us. We need to slow down. We popped open the bottle of Silverthorne MCC, and spent the rest of the afternoon chatting and lounging in the pool.
The last year has been a non-stop race for survival for everyone, with the goal being to keep our head above water and just get.through.the.day. Now, we had a moment to catch our breath – and in the most incredible place to do so.
We are so thankful to Mira and McGregor Country Getaways for providing us with a space to pull ourselves towards ourselves. And for not setting any unreasonable expectations on us. The result?
We WANT to write. For the first time in a year or so, we want to take a moment to touch base and tell you how we are. Thank you to Mira for recognizing what’s important and for giving us the room to just be. We’re embracing the concept of slow living and introducing our mandate for ‘slow blogging’ – emphasising a slower approach to aspects of wine content, and only sharing something when we feel it’s worth talking about. After all, your feed (and probably life!) is busy enough – we don’t want to just fill it with more landfill content.
So: if you find yourself searching for similar solace, we couldn’t recommend McGregor enough. With plenty of quaint restaurants and nearby wineries, an arid-yet-approachable landscape and plenty of room to self-isolate, this is just what the doctor ordered.