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The Lake House Denmark - ACCI Australia Post Award for Businesses with 5 to 10 employees

Jewel of the Great Southern

Garry Capelli amid the rustic charm of The Lake House's cellar door and restaurant.When one of Australia's most influential and respected wine journalists Ray Jordan declares The Lake House Denmark as the ‘Most Promising Winery in WA' - you know something special must be going on.

That something special includes winning the ACCI Australia Post Award for Businesses with 5 to 10 employees in the 2010 Albany Chamber of Commerce and Industry Awards earlier this year.

Located just five minutes from Denmark, The Lake House cellar door and restaurant oozes rustic charm.

The owners of The Lake House are Garry Capelli and Leanne Rogers. After regular holidays in Denmark for about 12 years, five years ago the former Claremont couple purchased the property they had always referred to as the "lake house".

The dream of owning 100 acres and a lake had come to fruition – then began the hard work. Or in the words of Garry, "Be careful what you wish for – you might get it!"

With limited knowledge of working a vineyard or experience in the hospitality trade, Garry and Leanne embarked upon a steep learning curve. To assist with the vineyard they got great advice from a 5-star viticulturist and a 5-star winemaker, as well as putting their own financial management skills to good use.

"We like the connected feeling here. It's a pretty spot, we have tried to create a relaxed, spacious environment which we certainly enjoy and we wanted other people to come and enjoy too," Garry said.

"We always had the vision of wine, vino food - the flavours from the vine in gourmet condiments and the wine spa body care products using the therapeutic qualities of grape seed extract."

The resulting wine is in three distinctive ranges – the quirky He Said, She Said, The Lake House Denmark Series and the Premium Reserve – all of which are hand-crafted premium wines created according to biodynamic principles displaying superb fruit flavours.

Casual dining can be enjoyed at the picturesque cellar door with delicious vineyard lunch platters prepared with fresh local and organic home-grown produce, enjoyed with their estate-grown wines or great coffee and home-made cakes. The menu is guided by the seasonal produce available from the organic vegetable garden.

Stay just a short time and it is not hard to see why Ray Jordan also called The Lake House "one of the most beautiful cellar doors anywhere in the world".

Garry saw value in entering the ACCI awards for several reasons.
 
"We get a lot of support from Albany people. They come out here because it's a ‘short drive' for a quick lunch or they can while away the whole afternoon and enjoy good food, good wine, good company in a friendly, relaxed spacious atmosphere," he said.

"The Lake House has developed a reputation for being open seven days a week. You know when you come here you are going to have a great meal and the wines stack up on their own - we have not compromised on their quality at all.

"I think we have become known for good value - if you come here on a budget there are things you can eat and drink - it's not exclusive it's inclusive  - or if you want to indulge in a Lake House lunch fit for a king and a queen you can do that too."

Garry said the ACCI award confirmed the success of their wine brand, the vino food and wine spa products.

 "You could say we have overcome the challenges of running a business in a regional location and we were ecstatic to win," he said. "When Leanne sat down to write our entry about what we had done, I couldn't believe it – we've gone from 900 cases of wine to 7000 cases in four years.

"I would encourage others to enter the awards. It is good to have someone hold up the pole vault bar – you've got to have aspirations – it is easy to be complacent. It is easy to be self-focussed instead of customer-focussed – it's easy to think you are doing a good job rather than asking your customers what they think," Garry said.

"It's not about you - it's about whether your customers are delighted in the products and services you deliver."

As for future plans, The Lake House intends to expand its vino foods, which are made on-site, nationally. "We will still have our products locally made but aim to use a bigger model of distribution. We are also looking to expand the distribution of our wine in the Eastern States," Garry said.

The Lake House wine and products are available online at www.lakehousedenmark.com.au, as well as through selected outlets.

The Lake House is located at 106 Turner Road in Denmark and is open 11am-5pm daily.

Return to Award Winners 2010