Hospo CheckIn: Michael & Christian Dal Zotto

Michael and Christian Dal Zotto of Dal Zotto Wines in the King Valley are working through 2020 as best they can and slowly coming out the other side feeling strong.  The family-owned business and Australian Prosecco pioneers base the culture of their operation on their team and customers. So, while having to change the way they do business, they are also learning a helluva lot. One thing that hasn’t changed? Their people are everything. 

We checked in to see what’s happening.

1. What have been the biggest challenges for your business since March and how has the second lockdown in Melbourne changed the way Dal Zotto had to operate in that region?  

MDZ + CDZ – The challenges we have faced are many, however the two main areas relate to the loss of on-premise sales due to the lockdown and trying to be agile enough to pivot into other areas to generate revenue to ensure the ongoing viability of the company.  

The other area relates to the general wellbeing of our team and making sure they are staying healthy and engaged enough with the business.  In our business, relationships are crucial. 

From sharing a wine with our restaurant or retail customers, to entertaining visitors at our cellar door, the moment this was taken away from us, made our business life challenging. So, we really hope common sense prevails and Victoria is opened safely for us all to get back some normality in our personal and business lives. 

2. What did you both learn about yourselves this year? 

MDZ – I have learnt that we have an enormous capacity to stay positive even when things get extremely tough and we have the ability to be able to adapt quickly to a situation to get the best out of ourselves and the business.  Sounds corny but every cloud has a silver lining.

CDZ – I learnt that there is opportunity everywhere. Sure, it was tough, but I am extremely proud of what we have achieved as a business over the last 6 months. We could have sat back and felt sorry for ourselves after we lost our entire vintage to bushfires (yes that’s right – we all forget that happened) but we chose to get on with it. Then COVID hit and…well, we all know how that went. 

But I am extremely proud of the way we conducted ourselves. Both from a business perspective and I also learnt that we have an amazing team at DZ, who looked at the challenge and meet it head on. From our onsite staff to our distributor in R+W. thank you. Your support and effort is appreciated. 

I also learnt. When times are good: we drink. When times are tough. We drink more.

3. How are you, your family and your team at Dal Zotto? 

MDZ – As of now we are well, the family is well, some are loving home schooling others hating it, (“it’s just school with no friends”).  With the support of the whole family getting through events like this are made a lot easier.  We are fortunate because we have an amazing team at Dal Zotto Wines.  They have moved into other areas of the business where they can, regardless of whether they are comfortable or not doing so, and had a go.  Their positive attitude and willingness to get on with it has been phenomenal.

CDZ – we are flying – (not literally) but we are in a good space. I have spent more time over the last 6 months in the state of Victoria than I ever have. And I have spent more time with my wife and little girl, and I have loved it. I look at the time I have been able to spend the time I have with my daughter, that I may not have had if I was travelling for work all the time, and see that as a positive. I will say though, I am probably driving my poor wife insane! So, I’m ready to get back out and about. It’s the best thing for my marriage I think…☺  

Dal Zotto Wines