Tourism boost imminent for wine regions

The Limestone Coast Wine and Grape Council’s Mixed Dozen International Wine Trails promises to boost international tourism to the region through technology, and it’s great news for local wineries.

As well as the Coonawarra benefitting from the project, it will also boost the tourism economies of Padthaway, Wrattonbully, Mount Benson, Robe, and Mount Gambier.  

“Sales through Cellardoor give better returns to wineries than sale to retail, (as there is no retailer or distributor margin to take out of the bottle price, plus we can claim a WET rebate on those sales).

“Improving visitor numbers is the first step in increasing Cellardoor sales.”

China and the USA are currently the two biggest export markets for Australian wine, and Balnaves has distributed their product to those countries for many years.

The Mixed Dozen Interactive Wine Trails will feature a central consumer tool on a digital platform, so that international visitors can make their tourism experience unique to their needs and interests.

It’s also designed to increase tourists’ length of stay, and monetary expenditure. “It allows overseas customers to have an experience here in Coonawarra, that once they return home they can remember this by drinking our wine in their home cities,” Mr Bissell said. 

“We have currently 200,000 international tourists per year doing the Great Ocean Road (which is exceptionally well marketed to International tourists), of which 46,000 will come through the Limestone Coast on their way to Kangaroo Island or Barossa Valley.

“This project is to entice more of these 200,000 tourists that are already in Australia, and already heading our way, to slow down and spend more time here.”

Domestic tourists are also encouraged to use the resource, and to explore the regions. Whilst wineries close to the capital of Adelaide benefit from high tourist numbers due to day trips, the Limestone Coast is vast.

But this can work in our favour, as it means that tourists can take advantage of our eateries, nature parks, and coastline as they also treat themselves to some fine bottles of red or white.

Many wineries in the region are already experienced in offering excellent tourism experiences, and Balnaves are no different.

“We communicate with our customers via newsletters and social media and we have a newly setup wine club, but we pride ourselves on an interesting Cellardoor experience,” Mr Bissell said.

“We have outdoor chairs , picnic boxes, games for kids to relax our customers and make their Cellardoor experience enjoyable. We have almost 1000 roses planted in our gardens as well.”

Mr Bissell hopes that with the Mixed Dozen Interactive Wine Trails, it will make it easier for the Balnaves brand to reach an international audience:

“But for our overseas customers, it’s difficult for small family wine businesses to regularly visit international markets and do promotions. So marketing to those people via tourists coming here is much more effective, and also cost effective.”

The Mixed Dozen Interactive Wine Trails is supported by the Federal Government’s Wine Tourism Competitive Grants Program, the Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA), and stakeholders.

Newsarticle by Amy Maynard, The Naracoorte Herald

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