Tasmanian wineries urged to offer greater experiences at cellar door
Tasmanian wineries are being told to take risks and enhance and diversify their cellar door operations.
State grape and wine industry peak body Wine Tasmania said too many producers were playing it safe, and missing out on a significant opportunity to attract more customers and boost their profits.
Cellar door experiences – where a winery sells its products direct to the public – was a key topic at Wine Tasmania’s annual conference in Launceston.
Chief executive Sheralee Davies said more wine producers were looking to cellar door operations.
“If you can sell your wine directly to someone who’s standing in front of you, having an experience with you as it relates to that wine, not only are you developing that relationship and loyalty, you’re also able to sell without someone in the middle,” she said.
Wine Tasmania figures show 180,000 people visited a cellar door outlet in Tasmania last year.
Ms Davies said she believed there was scope to grow the number of cellar doors in the state from 85 to more than 100.
“There’s incredibly strong demand for Tasmanian wines,” she said.
“There’s still a fair bit of capacity for cellar doors to be developed.
“The best way to actually articulate what you’re all about and what you’re trying to do is to get someone to come and visit you.”
Cellar door wine tastings not enough: wine marketer
Marketer Angie Bradbury said she believed wineries needed to offer more than a standard wine tasting.
“This traditional wine experience, which is to build a big counter and have people walk into that environment and have people taste through wines in the portfolio, it’s not enough,” she said.
“It’s actually not responding to this experience-driven economy that food and wine tourists in particular are looking for.
“I wouldn’t be pursuing the traditional free tasting model at cellar door. I think its time is fairly numbered.”
She said she believed consumers were after a more rounded experience and were willing to pay for it.
“People want to get out in your barrel hall, they want to walk through your vineyard, they really want to learn those stories and have those experiences,” she said.
“So if people can tap into that and be the early movers in the experience economy for the Tassie wine sector, they’ll do very well.”
Business analyst, Paul van der Lee, agreed.
“We look to what happens in some other regions and particularly some overseas countries, like South Africa and some of those wineries are more successful at doing that,” he said.
“There’s a bit more theatre, there’s a bit more entertainment – all of which means people see it as a better experience.
“They are the best opportunity any wine business has.”
He said wine producers needed to think about what the customer wanted.
“Stand on the other side of the counter and think ‘OK if I came in here, what impression would I get and what would really switch me on to what this place is about?'”
Wineries advised to take visitors ‘behind the scenes’
Dave Milne works in the marketing team at a Launceston winery.
He said the cellar door was a vital part of the business.
“It’s where we get our highest margin for our product and it’s also the best advertising for the establishment,” he said.
Mr Milne said visitors were regularly taken behind the scenes, which had proved highly successful.
“Learning about the production of wine, learning a little bit about the story really … gets more attachment to our brand,” he said.
“It’s all about giving something a little bit extra that you might not get elsewhere.
“If you can take people on a journey and sort of express the story, show them behind the scenes, show them how the wine is made – they really take ownership of the wines.”