2024 Schwarz Conference & Team Retreat

February 1, 2024
by Sahar Ayubi

In the heart of Australia’s renowned wine country, the Schwarz team embarked on a journey that blended business and pleasure. The Hunter Valley, known for its picturesque landscapes and world-class wineries, played host to a team bonding retreat and conference that strengthened professional connections, reinforced our companies core values, and better-equipped us to tackle on 2024 as a team.

On Saturday 13 January, our team all convoyed to the lovely Stable & Vines retreat nestled amidst vineyards, picturesque landscapes. The accommodation held many amenities to suit all needs from, cozy interiors, scenic surroundings, pool and games room, setting the stage for a perfect balance of relaxation and team bonding.

“I loved the games room, the boys taught me how to play pool, which was super fun!” said receptionist, Muriel.

“It was 30 degrees, a lot of us spent most the day relaxing by the pool and chatting” said property manager, Jo.

That night, an opening dinner at Harrigan’s Pub with live music brought everyone together, fostering camaraderie and setting the tone for the days ahead.

On Sunday 14 January, the girls all woke up to the smell of a BBQ breakfast cooked by the boys. We then had a few hours until our wine tour to either explore the Hunter Valley or simply enjoy the accommodation, some of us chose to visit the cheese shop and chocolate factory, whilst others chose to relax by the pool or read a book overlooking the bushlands.

At 1.30pm Hunter Valley Amazing Wine Tours picked us up, and we were off through the picturesque vineyards. The team sampled exquisite wines from three wonderful wineries; McCaffrey’s Estate, Hunter’s Dream and Hunter Valley Beer and Wine. We learned about the winemaking process, and indulged in delightful gourmet pairings, all were fantastic and had their unique point of difference. The winery visits not only delighted the senses but also served as an informal setting for team members to connect on a personal level, fostering a sense of unity.

It was also Rosie’s birthday (Leasing Consultant), when the wine tour was over, the team headed back to Stable & Vines and threw a little birthday party – a fantastic end to the day.

“I was really surprised – I didn’t expect a Birthday cake and balloons, the team went above and beyond, I couldn’t be more appreciative” said Rosie.

Monday 15 January; with minds rejuvenated and spirits high, the team gathered for a focused day of business planning and strategy sessions. The tranquil surroundings of the Airbnb provided an ideal backdrop for brainstorming sessions, workshops, and collaborative discussions. The strategic planning sessions were infused with the energy and creativity that the team had cultivated during the preceding days, leading to innovative ideas and actionable plans.

For an adrenaline-pumping afternoon, the team headed to a local go-karting track. The high-speed adventure brought out the competitive spirit in everyone, creating an exhilarating atmosphere of friendly rivalry. The thrill of racing against colleagues forged bonds that transcended the usual office dynamics. Laughter echoed through the air as everyone celebrated victories and shrugged off defeats, creating shared memories that would be cherished for years to come.

“Hands down one of the most exciting activities I have ever done, I got to show off some tricks and came first on the track – was great!” said PM team leader, Pat. 


As the team departed from the tranquil vineyards and returned to the demands of the professional world, they carried with them not only business strategies but also the lasting bonds formed during an unforgettable retreat in the heart of wine country. The Hunter Valley had provided the perfect backdrop for a harmonious blend of team building, adventure, and strategic planning.