21 Feb 2023

Local wine on global stage

Gemtree Wines, Fleurieu Peninsula
Gemtree Wines, Fleurieu Peninsula

South Australia will be on the global stage this week when Adelaide – Australia’s wine capital – is represented at a world wine tourism fair in Portugal.

Held in Porto, the inaugural Wine & Travel Week event will bring together industry professionals, buyers and media from across the globe for a two-day forum and a trade show with a focus on sustainable and innovative wine tourism experiences.

One of South Australia’s iconic wineries, celebrated for its sustainability credentials and crowned Global Best of Wine Tourism Award winner in the category in 2022, Gemtree Wines will present today at the forum on the topic of sustainable wine tourism and biodynamics.

Gemtree Wines co-owner and viticulturalist Melissa Brown will also participate in meetings with buyers, wine industry colleagues and international media to sell South Australia as a destination and one of the 11 Great Wine Capitals of the World.

Through the state’s membership of the Great Wine Capitals Global Network, the South Australian Tourism Commission will exhibit at the trade show to target international buyers such as travel agents and tour companies to ensure South Australia is built into the itineraries they sell around the world.

Wine is a significant contributor to the state’s economy and a key tourism drawcard.

There are 340 cellar doors in South Australia, 200 of which are within an hour’s drive from Adelaide. South Australia produces 50 per cent of Australia’s bottled wine, and around 80 per cent of Australia’s premium wine.

Prior to the pandemic, 36 per cent of international tourists to South Australia visited a winery during their trip, and latest data shows that one fifth of all interstate visitors (in the 12 months to September 2022) visited a winery during their trip.

The local membership of the Great Wine Capitals Global Network includes the Department of Primary Industries and Regions, South Australian Tourism Commission, South Australian Wine Industry Association, University of Adelaide, and University of South Australia.

Minister for Tourism, Zoe Bettison said with international tourism still recovering from the impacts of the pandemic – now at 25 per cent of its pre-COVID $1.2 billion – it is incredibly important to continue to put South Australia on the world map at every chance.

"As Australia’s wine capital and one of just 11 around the world, it is terrific to have representation at a global wine tourism fair – putting our state in front of the people who will help sell it," Minister Bettison said.

"South Australia’s wine is a key driver of visitors to our state, and it is operators like Gemtree play an integral role in offering incredible tourism experiences and boosting wine regions like the McLaren Vale."

Minister for Primary Industries, Clare Scriven said South Australian wine is enjoyed all over the world. In 2020-21, more than 374 million litres of wine were exported overseas, worth $1.65 billion.

"Tourism is a vital part of South Australia’s regional economy, with more than 60% of the total $6.2 billion spent by visitors to the state in 2021 – including on wine tourism – spent in regional South Australia," Minister Scriven said.

"During the pandemic, opportunities to show South Australia’s best-in-class wine and wine tourism experiences on a world stage were limited.

"It is exciting that events like Portugal’s Wine & Travel Week are again shining a light on so'me of our best wine offerings. It’s putting South Australia, our wine, and our regions on a global platform."

Chief viticulturalist and co-owner of Gemtree Wines, Melissa Brown said whilst proud of Gemtree's own achievements, the winery is part of a great collective here in South Australia – it is such a great place to live, to operate a business, and to visit.

"We missed out on international tourists for more than two years, so it’s really important to have opportunities like this to get South Australia and South Australian wine in front of a global audience," Ms Brown said.

"Our wines in SA are world-renowned and this provides a great platform to also promote what else South Australia has to offer and how it differs to the rest of the world.

"We have all the things people are looking for – the climate, the coast, an incredible food bowl and of course, our wine. I’m honoured to be talking about all of this with buyers, industry and media from around the world."