Vignerons praise growth plan

Alpine Observer - - News - By JAMIE KRONBORG

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.”

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