Gundog Estate partners with Path 2 Change to support local disadvantaged youth

Gundog Estate partners with Path 2 Change to support local disadvantaged youth

Gundog Estate has created a special bottling of 2019 Hunter Shiraz in partnership with Path 2 Change with 100 per cent of profits going directly to support disadvantaged and homeless youth in the Hunter Valley region.

Branded, The Lived Experience the wine carries a stunning hand drawn label symbolising the journey of young people from struggles with broken homes and families to support, freedom and hope for the future.

Gundog Estate Winemaker, Matt Burton said that COVID-19 has had a deep impact on us all and recognises the devastating impact it’s had on individuals facing homelessness. It was these figures that sparked him into action.

“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,” Matt said.

“Their needs have escalated significantly, and Path 2 Change now has more clients on their books than ever before.”

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 per cent and, in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie area it is 15.6 per cent. *

These rates compare to the state average of 12.5 per cent.

Path 2 Change Chief Executive Officer, Jennifer O’Sullivan said there’s been an influx of added stress and a breakdown of family dynamics during COVID-19, resulting in more individuals forced into homelessness.

“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,” Jennifer said.

“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. 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,” Matt said.

“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.

Gundog Estate will donate 100 per cent of profits to Path 2 Change, which will use these funds supporting local disadvantaged and homeless youth.

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** 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. However, I have also seen the resilience and courage of young people towards independence and choosing a better future for themselves,” she said.

“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 the 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.

* Regional labour force trends and NSW electorates (June 2021) 

**Name changed 


IMAGE | The special bottling of Gundog Estate’s 2019 Hunter Shiraz.

Gundog Estate

Gundog Estate is a boutique producer of premium wines specialising in Semillon and Shiraz. Gundog Estate is owned and managed by Matt Burton and they operate cellar doors in the Hunter Valley, NSW and Gundaroo, NSW. The wines of Gundog Estate have been awarded many wine show medals and continue to receive widespread critical acclaim in Australia and abroad. Gundog Estate has been consistently awarded a 5-Star winery rating by leading Australian wine critic, James Halliday for the past six years.

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