Vignerons praise growth plan
ALPINE Valleys Vignerons’ president Micheal Freudenstein has welcomed a $ 50 million, three- year federal government plan to build regional tourism and wine exports.
The government’s wine support package – announced last week – has a strong regional tourism focus but a business plan in which the package is detailed shows that most wine tourists visit only the major production regions close to Australia’s capital cities.
The plan reported that almost 1.1 million visitors went to Australia’s wineries in 2015.
It also showed that overall visitor numbers and cellar door sales were closely linked – reporting that 1617 wineries maintained a cellar door outlet.
But the proportion of wineries with cellar door had fallen from almost 80 per cent a decade ago to less than 66pc in 2016.
Nationals’ Victorian senator Bridget McKenzie said the package had a two-pronged approach – to build export opportunities and to encourage tourists to taste wines in the state’s wine- producing regions.
She said the aim of the visitor strategy was to attract 40,000 more international tourists to Australian wine regions by 2019- 20, which was expected to deliver an estimated $170 million to the national economy.
The package was also designed to “capture growth” in wine regions like the Alpine valleys by offering state-based and competitive grants to strengthen wine tourism.
The business plan offered examples of projects that could be funded, including regional wine events that increase cellar doors sales, the development of regional wine trails and “wine clusters” across state borders, and common infrastructure – such as booking or reservation systems – that aid individual cellar door wineries and the region in which these operate.
The package release last week coincided with Friday’s opening of an effective cellar door in Myrtleford by three Alpine Valley vignerons.
Alpine Wine Shop – a partnership retail outlet on Great Alpine Road developed by Mr Freudenstein, Bob McNamara and Bri Lewis and their families – offers the investors’ respective Homestead Estate, Bush Track and Bike and Barrel wines for sale.
The shop is also marketing Souter’s Vineyard, Ferraro Wines’ and Dalbosco Wines’ labelled production.
Mr Freudenstein said the Commonwealth package and its emphasis on regional wine and tourism development was a good fit with the Victorian government’s strategies in wine regions.
“Governments working together – it’s very encouraging,” he said.
“The export stuff won’t affect us that much but the cellar door strategies and investment in developing the regions will be well received.”