Regional cellar door pitch

KIM KIRKMANBusselton Dunsborough Times
Regional cellar door pitch
Camera IconRegional cellar door pitch Credit: Busselton Dunsborough Times

Multiple wine producers could be represented at a single cellar door in the region if recommendations by local wine and tourism bodies are enacted under a review of the Liquor Control Act.

Submissions by Tourism Council WA and Wines of Western Australia, representing Geographe Bay Tourism Association and Margaret River Wine Industry Association respectively, recommended current restrictions be relaxed to allow for the establishment of a collective cellar door outlet.

GBTA acting chief executive Sharna Kearney said such an outlet would work well for small producers who may not have the resources to run their own cellar door and would provide visitors the opportunity to taste a variety of boutique wines they may not have otherwise been able to.

“Even for wineries that already have a cellar door presence, it could provide another avenue to showcase their product and attract further visitation to their cellar door, ” Ms Kearney said.

Margaret River Wine Industry Association president Nigel Gallop said the establishment of such an outlet would be of particular benefit to small wine producers by placing them in the line of higher traffic.

Wilyabrup grower Sheelagh Bransgrove, whose Bransgrove Estate wine is produced offsite and does not have a cellar door, would welcome the move.

“People like to find the back road wines they can’t get at the bottle stores, ” Ms Bransgove said.

“But a lot of buyers also don’t leave Caves Road when visiting wineries, unless they are visiting those wineries with a restaurant.”

Ms Bransgove said she believed a regional cellar door should be limited to producers that didn’t have their own cellar door and said the success of the outlet would probably come down to its location and how many wines it offered.

Larry Schoppe, who owns small family vineyard Mongrel Creek on the outskirts of Dunsborough, said while he could understand the attraction of a collective cellar door for producers that were “off the beaten track”, he wouldn’t get into it himself.

“People are only going to taste so much wine and I think it would be easy to get lost in the crowd; I already have a cellar door, ” Mr Schoppe said.

“I think its success would really depend on what they charged for it.”

Other proposals supported by the review would introduce a new class of licence for small bars no longer as sub-categories of a hotel licence and would enable restaurants to serve alcohol without a meal.

Beer producers would be able to sell beer for consumption on site similar to the way wineries operate and wine producers would be able to sell liquor other than their own produce with a meal under further recommendations supported in the review.

The independent Liquor Control Act Review was released at the start of this year.

A committee considering the review is expected to report to Racing, Gaming and Liquor Minister Terry Waldron later in 2014.

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