Wine Depot

A Guide to Great and Unique Cellar Door Experiences

wine barrel vineyard

The recently-released report from Wine Australia reveals that Direct-to-Consumer is still the leading wine sales channel, accounting for 17% of a winery’s revenue in 2020. The cellar door remains the largest channel despite losing a significant share to online sales which grew a whopping 49% last year. 

With last year’s bushfires and COVID-19 restrictions, local wineries also experienced disruptions in international markets and a decrease in visitors. So to help attract tourists, the Marshall Liberal Government launched the Cellar Door Unique Experience Grant Program, allowing South Australian wineries to apply for a grant of up to $5,000 to develop unique cellar experiences. 

Whether you’re planning to send a grant application or just looking to freshen up your offerings, we have some ideas to help jumpstart your planning. Get inspired by a few Australian wineries who are killing it when it comes to cellar door experiences.

Voyager Estate
Photo from Instagram @voyagerestate

Make it exclusive

Customers like being treated as VIPs and experiencing something not everyone can. So why not up your wine tasting game by holding private sessions or letting them sip wines that haven’t been released yet?

Contentious Character in Canberra’s Wamboin region offers an intimate tasting session led by the winemaker himself who explains the winemaking process and curates a special wine collection based on the guests’ tastes and preferences. 

Margaret River-based Voyager Estate takes its visitors into a journey from vineyard to the table while showcasing the region’s top varietals: Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Starting with a tour of the estate, including Australia’s largest underground barrel cellar, guests also get to try wines from barrels and indulge in a gourmet meal.  

Make it about the vineyard

Go beyond the cellar door and let your beautiful vineyard do all the talking. Whether you have a large ground for scenic picnics, seasonal fruits on the farm for picking or unique wildlife to see, you can turn ordinary wine tastings into exciting experiences. 

In Adelaide Hills, Golding Wines takes visitors on a Wine Safari Experience, giving them a tour of secluded locations and showcasing breathtaking panoramic views of the wine region before taking them for lunch in the vineyard’s charming and rustic barn. 

They also offer the Instagram-worthy Nido Experience where guests get to try chef-prepared grazing lunch with their award-winning wines in a hand-woven nest located in the property’s highest slopes, offering picturesque views.

Hayes Family Wines
Photo from https://www.hayesfamilywines.com/

Make it hands-on

Give visitors an experience that they will remember for years. Spice up your wine tastings by making them interactive. Instead of just showing guests how you make your wine, you can let them participate in the process. 

Barossa Valley’s Hayes Family Wines does just that with its Tawny Blending Experience. After explaining the winemaking process from vineyard to bottle and tasting from barrels, winemaker Andrew Seppelt teaches guests how to make their own blend to take home, giving them a unique experience. 

Bonus: Make it virtual

Virtual tastings may not bring people to your cellar door but if executed perfectly, it provides the same immersive experience with the added ease and convenience. It’s also a good way to take advantage of the booming wine e-commerce. 

To provide a good at-home experience, partner with a reliable logistics company, such as WINEDEPOT, to ensure all bottles and tools are delivered safely and quickly. 

Tasmania’s Josef Chromy holds seasonal virtual wine tastings for groups and sends a complete package including bottles and other wine accessories and essentials. They also share the recording after the session so the participants can access it whenever they want.   

For most wineries, the cellar door is not only where they showcase their wines but also an opportunity to connect with customers and build their brand through memorable experiences. These ideas should inspire you to think outside of the box and create innovative ways to reach people and get them to purchase from you.