Friends of BEGG & CO – Chiara Giovanacci, Bunnahabhain & Deanston

Friends of BEGG & CO – Chiara Giovanacci, Bunnahabhain & Deanston

As my colleagues on Islay can attest, living on Islay has its challenges at times due to the remote location, in fact, Bunnahabhain was only accessible by sea until the 1960s and now the road down to the distillery can be quite hair-raising, so we're used to adapting - whether that be from stormy weather to something more unusual like this virus. What really helps do this is the great community feeling that exists on the island - it's so important to us and whilst there may be 9 distilleries on the island, there's no feeling of great competition - we like to think of them as our extended family!

This weekend some of our ambassadors were due to be attending Whisky Live in London. As this has now been postponed, we thought we’d take the opportunity to bring Bunnahabhain to our community online instead, whether they were hoping to attend the event or not. And what better day to do it, than on International Whisky Day.

 

How is life on the Isle of Islay at the moment?

It's quiet on the island - something we're used to in the winter but we would normally be looking forward to the start of our busy season and welcoming people to Bunnahabhain from all over the world just now. Not to mention planning for Feis Ile, the Islay which festival in May, which has unfortunately been cancelled this year. Not to worry though, we're busy working behind the scenes and look forward to seeing everyone at the distillery in the hopefully not too distant future!

It is such a lovely idea to bring people together online with your virtual whisky tasting, tell us how important community is to the island?

As my colleagues on Islay can attest, living on Islay have its challenges at times due to the remote location, in fact, Bunnahabhain was only accessible by sea until the 1960s and now the road down to the distillery can be quite hair-raising, so we're used to adapting - whether that be from stormy weather to something more unusual like this virus. What really helps do this is the great community feeling that exists on the island - it's so important to us and whilst there may be 9 distilleries on the island, there's no feeling of great competition - we like to think of them as our extended family!

What are you personally doing to stay positive in this current climate?

I am trying to focus one day at a time. I’m trying to make the most of the time with my family, and cherish some precious moments with my 2 daughters. We have been painting rainbows and sticking them to our windows, to thank the NHS and all of the key workers who are doing a tremendous job.

Do you have any uplifting book/music/podcast recommendations that you can share with us? 

I absolutely loved the book ‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama, so it was a real treat to listen to a recent podcast by Oprah Winfrey on her Super Soul Conversations, where she interviews Michelle Obama.

Podcasts are my sanctuary and a real moment for escapism for me. I am currently listening to The Emma Guns Show, How to Fail with Elizabeth Day and the whisky geek in me loves ‘Whisky Talk’.

Are you working from home, if so do you have any advice to stay focused?

I am working from home and am trying where possible to stick to a routine, although homeschooling my daughters throws in some fun moments. I often find myself on video conferences with one of my daughters sitting on my lap. Multitasking has certainly gone up a level. But I am so lucky that my colleagues are very supportive and many of them are in the same boat. Strangely, our team spirit seems stronger than ever as we work through the unknowns together.


How do you try to stay healthy and fit during these strange times of self-isolation?

I have been doing Joe Wicks the Body Coach every morning with my children and when I can, do an online fitness class or some pilates before bed. Most of all, I’m trying not to be too hard on myself, taking each day at a time.

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