Ohana Winery, which won 7 fruit wine awards in their debut competition, is testament to what can be achieved with hard work, passion and a little creativity. Bored of their normal office jobs, founders Josh and Zoe set out to turn a dilapidated farm into a successful winery and the job of their dreams.
My name is Zoe and I'm the owner of Ohana Winery in Childers, Queensland.
Ohana Winery is an award-winning winery and cider house where we specialise in tropical fruit wines and apple ciders.
We are primarily a tourist-based organisation up here in Childers so we have a lot of travellers who are exploring the Bundaberg region and coming to check out some activities to do while they are in the region and aside from that we have a wholesale market with our apple cider so that's available pretty much anywhere between the Gold Coast and Baffle Creek at the moment. We are hoping to get a little bigger there and we are actually starting to export a little bit of stuff overseas as well.
It's really cool to see exactly what you put into it is what you get out of it, that's really rewarding and then also when the customers come in and they are just really appreciative of what you do, and they get excited about tasting something new and something different. Some days we are making wines, you're covered head to toe in fruit slops. The other days you're getting dressed up and you go into the markets and meeting people there. Then we'll have a big bus group coming through and doing wine tours and tastings and yeah, every day is really different.
When Josh and Zoe Young returned from a holiday in Hawaii there was little chance of them returning to a conventional career. Falling in love with Hawaii's laid-back, tropical lifestyle, working behind a desk was not high on their agenda. When they saw a winery in Childers for sale, they grabbed the opportunity and jumped on a plane from their native city of Perth.
By their own admission, the winery and its orchard were a little neglected and rough around the edges, but they saw the potential. With dedication, passion and plenty of hard work they transformed the property and renamed it Ohana — the Hawaiian translation for 'family and friends'. Ohana Winery now produces fruit wines, ciders and liqueurs with produce sourced from their orchard and from other local growers.
The tropical fruit orchard contains hundreds of tropical and subtropical fruit trees and Josh and Zoe have developed it into a popular destination for touring companies. Targeted as a winery with a difference, visitors can stroll through the tropical fruit orchard and sample exotic fruits and fruit wines. Ohana Winery also makes and sells boutique apple ciders, tropical fruit jams and preserves and, in an innovative tourism offering, hosts cider making weekends.
In the first year of production Ohana Winery collected 7 medals in its debut competition at the Perth Royal Show's Commercial Fruit Wine Competition. Josh and Zoe saw an opportunity to explore international export markets for their products. With support from Trade and Investment Queensland and Austrade, they were able to attend Asia's largest food and wine trade show, and shortly after secured their first international contract for their fruit wines with a Hong Kong importer and distributor.