Does “doing the right thing” mean paying too much?

For the record, I am a strong believer in community, including shopping locally whenever possible.  Sometimes I know I pay a little extra but then I often save on the time and fuel it takes to travel for the sake of a small saving in price.  Perhaps because my family ran a village store when I was little, (which eventually succumbed to the power of big supermarkets,) the “use it or lose it” mantra is one I spout to all and sundry when it comes to supporting local business.  But how far am I supposed to go?

For example: the other day, I dropped into my local hardware store in Exeter to inquire on the price of trellis wire.  I had done some homework on-line as I will need a total of around 30 km to complete the job and, needless to say, every cent counts.  The best price I could find trawling the internet was easily matched by this awesome local business, justifying my suspicion that, in many cases, we only think we get a better deal from the larger suppliers.

As I have said in an earlier blog, (see A dog, a compass and a measuring wheel,) my posts are being supplied by the terrific guys at Woodshield.  While a QLD based outfit, they support our local industry by being associate members of the Tamar Valley Wine Route and, of course, are the only suppliers of these particular chemical-free posts which I was anxious to use.  No problem so far.

Earth Anchor dimensions0001Now for the rub.  For various reasons, I have decided to use earth anchors to brace the trellis, rather than the alternative box assembly which uses more posts and therefore should be more costly.  I was horrified to be quoted around $37 a piece, plus delivery, by the nearby branch of a nationwide rural supplies group, and that for something that was barely sufficient for the purpose.  In addition, they wanted to charge me $13 each for a strainer kit (length of wire rope and a gripple)  meaning the cost of the anchors would have exceeded all the other trellis costs put together. I seriously considered a change in strategy but thought I would give it one more go and look further afield.

MUCH further afield.  To cut a long story short, I have purchased an over-engineered anchor of the same design and material from a manufacturer in Qing Dao, China.  The total price, including freight to the vineyard, is …  well let’s just say that the total cost of my end assemblies; posts, strainers, wire, gripples, the lot, is now cheaper than the price quoted me for just the anchor.  I think I just found my limits.


  1. Peter McIntosh says:

    Nice rant Ant.

    These ground anchors are exact copies of the ones I used to re-strut the end assemblies at Brook Eden.

    They were invented and manufactured by an Austrian gent, whose name escapes me but I will remember it, who retired and now lives in NSW. He had a bunch of stock he’d brought with him and that’s where I got mine. I think they were $5-6 ea assembly.

    The only downside was the hard-faced teeth of the supplied driving tool were buggered in our basalt soils (from hitting rocks) after about 5 anchors. So I had DJ? Machinery in Launceston make me up a bunch more. The firs pair of theirs I used are still in the drive tool after driving several hundred anchors. In a drawer in the workshop at Brook Eden is a packet with 5 more sets of drive teeth. I doubt Ed and Annette will ever need them. So If you need a drive tool that know where to find it.

    Chris Smith had built a simple hydraulic drive motor (Clover Hill had the same anchors) which is up the back of their shed and I’m certain you could borrow it, which will fit the drive tool I had at Brook Eden. So there’s you kit to whack in the anchors.

    Peter. ” Usenet is like a herd of performing elephants with diarrhea — massive, difficult to redirect, awe-inspiring, entertaining, and a source of mind-boggling amounts of excrement when you least expect it. ” ~ Gene Spafford, 1992

    1. taswineicons says:

      Pete you are a hero. Thank you. Just one extra question: there seem to be two different schools of thought as to the orientation of the ground anchor. Some say vertically; some say in line with the brace wire. Thoughts?

  2. Also – just for the record. Woodshield products are distributed locally by TP Jones. Always looking to work locally – it all goes around

  3. Reblogged this on The Wine Wankers and commented:
    This is our first reblog of another blog so we don’t do this lightly. I’m inspired by the story of Anthony Woollams… He is living every wine wankers dream… setting up his own vineyard and it’s in the beautiful Tamar Valley region of Tasmania, a spectacular wine route all wine lovers must travel one day. Please check out his blog and follow his dream. I’ve reblogged this particular post because the story will resonate with everyone. Enjoy!!

  4. craftymadre says:

    It is frustrating when you’re trying to do the “right thing” but just really can’t afford it. I have the same problem and often have to choose the option I don’t want.

    1. taswineicons says:

      You are right. What frustrates me most of all are those that use moral blackmail to get us to buy their product locally but have no conscience about ripping us off in return. Stay strong

  5. Love the you went local. Your winery is massive? I have no idea. Good luck.

    1. taswineicons says:

      Thankyou. No, I am pleased to say not massive. Having spent most of my career working for larger operations, I am now firmly of the opinion that, not only is a small business more fun and likely to produce more interesting wines, but it is also the most sustainable option. Just 1,000 cases (see The Dream) from under 2ha is as big as it will ever be. Stay tuned.

  6. loulouloves says:

    Oh how said really, you had the will to do but in the end the system of it all let you down. I’ve done the same thing. Good luck!

  7. Congrats for having a go, if they take the p*ss then that’s their problem, they’ll work it out. All the best with the works

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