Ultimate Winery Experiences

JD: From your Life Choices website and e-newsletter. It’s Mind your Own Retirement Kaye Fallick’s the publisher. And if there’s two things Kaye Fallick likes to do, two things. What do you think they might be? Travel?

KF: Talk to John Deeks and talk to Kate Schilling

JD: Travel and wine, travel and wine? And I said, oh, who’s this lovely Kate Schilling we’re going to talk to? Is this about a booze trail? She said, ‘no, it’s not’. She got all huffy, put her hands on her hips and said ‘this is about a curation of wine’.  So, Kaye, I’m going to leave this to you and say hello, Kate!

K: Hello there. How are you, John?

JD: Well, thank you.

KF: Kate, he’s just bombed our interviews. So, I will now wind the whole thing back steadily and carefully and say you’re someone whose energy and enthusiasm I admire so much. And having had a chat with you in the past week, it reminded me about the ultimate winery experience.

So, this is something that is available around Australia for people touring Australia?

K: That’s right.

KF: And let’s start with what is an ultimate winery?

K: Oh, an ultimate winery experience is it so many different things! But firstly, thank you so much for inviting me to speak today. As you say, I’ve got a lot of energy and enthusiasm for the experiences that are in our portfolio. And I guess to set the scene, an ultimate winery experience, these are experiences that have been created to appeal to people who are interested in exploring beyond the cellar door. A paid tasting is fabulous. Dropping into a winery is great, but we’ve now been able to bring a series of bookable tourism products that really invite people who are interested to experience the Australian way with wine.

And that means being able to meet the people behind the scenes. Learn a bit more about the winery as you meet – whether it’s the owners or wine makers, and then enjoy really the rich diversity that our wine regions have to offer.

JD: Kate, if nothing else, the wine makers, the owners of the vineyards, they are so passionate and will talk to you ad nauseam about their product because it is such a passion for them isn’t it?

K: It is! But what we find is the people that come, who are booking our experiences, that they’re walking towards us, I guess, because they’re also really interested in wine and whether that, you know, the term we use for our target market is high value travelers. But that covers – yes, it covers crazy wine people. And as you say, our winemakers can definitely dial up the crazy to answer any particular question on what they’re doing. But we find that by and large, the bulk of the people that book our experiences are real, their experience seekers, meaning that they love great food and wine.

But they love it even more if the wine’s being poured by that wine maker who produced it. If they’re eating food that’s growing in the kitchen garden, which is just over there, because by the very nature of our winery, they’re all located in country Australia. And that local terroir, the local provenance of all the food and how they do what they do and grow what they grow. That really goes hand-in-hand.

KF: Well, my experience when I’ve been lucky enough to visit wineries and get to meet the winemaker is that they are normally incredibly well connected locally with the guy who is farming pigs. So beautiful pork and the cheese maker and so on. So, I think you’re tapping us in to the local food and wine network here.

K: Yeah, absolutely. That’s really how we came about. We have been around for seven years. And seven years ago, two things happened. One is that nine of our wineries had come together because they were keen to create a deeper connection with their customers and they knew what they had to do and what they could offer both on site and in regions by collaborating. So, they were really keen to get involved in developing these experiences. And at the same time, Tourism Australia had been doing their research and they understood that food and wine were part of the decision-making process and where people were going on holiday.

KF: So itt’s not just me!

K: No, it’s not just you. You are part of a much wider group. And so, whether people were thinking, will I go to Argentina, Italy or Australia or if they’re in Sydney, well, where will I go? Will I go to the Gold Coast? Will I go to north Queensland or will I go to South Australia? That food and wine was sort of part of that proposition.

But Tourism Australia did a really good job on creating, I guess, the inspiration and telling people you’ll be really surprised and delighted by the food and wine that you’ll taste in regional Australia. But then, what happened was that people were inspired that they then were like, well, where am I going to go and what am I gonna cook? And what’s the best for me? So that’s when our nine wineries came together with Tourism Australia to create the Ultimate Winery Experiences. And we are now seven years on, we have twenty-five wineries, across sixteen wine regions across the country and they’re all hand-picked to show the diversity and I guess what I think is really special is innovative approaches to wine making here and the willingness to work together. So, yeah, we have a really interesting range of experiences.

KF: Well, I think also what you’re highlighting sometimes is architecture? So, I think you’ve got a couple of sorts of quirky designs there but beneath it all, surely, is the story. The story of the people.

K: Yeah absolutely It’s the story. I’m sorry my dog is barking. She loves winery experiences as well.

So, yeah, I guess the story is really what people are interested in. Being able to understand, I guess the heritage, what’s gone into not just making this particular wine that they’re drinking, but the previous vintages, how the vineyards all came together and how they’re working. And particularly with the different, I guess, special subjects.

And I guess d’Arenberg Cube is the classic example where they, you know, they’ve been there creating a cellar door with a difference. Yes, the wine is amazing. Yes. They were first family of wine and have been around for four or five generations. But now they have this amazing cellar door in McLaren Vale that’s winning awards left, right and center. So there’s lots of different aspects to an ultimate winery.

JD: Does Kate Schilling have a favorite? Go on. I know. It’s like choosing a favorite child. Go on, go on.

K: I do not. I’ve just had a week in South Australia and before that, I should preempt this by saying I got the best job in the world and before that, I had a week in Country Victoria.

JD: I mean, you go to the Claire Valley you’ve got some beautiful wines that are very good to that region you go to other areas; you go Mornington Peninsula.

K: That’s right and I guess for me, as a travel and tourism person, I’ve been drinking wine for a long time, but every time I go to one of our wineries, I learn something new about what’s gone into creating this beautiful product and also just meeting the characters. And as you said at the beginning, though, they’re pretty passionate about it.

KF: So, there’s too much to do, but we’ll put the appropriate links on the website. So, we’ve been talking to Kate from ultimatewineryexperiences.com.au

JD: Thank you so much

K: That’s my pleasure, all the best. Have a good day.

JD: Kate Schilling, who’s the Ultimate Winery Experience guru and you can go to ultimatewineryexperiences.com.au

Check out our website at yourlifechoices.com.au lots of information there. Do you have a favorite Kay Fallicke?

KF: I like Pizzini up in the King’s valley –

JD: I was given some Pizzini wines from the Sandringham Hospital I did a talk and they gave me some Pizzini wines.

KF: Well it’s a family winery and it’s the tobacco farmers, stopped growing tobacco of course, because the industry contracted and a lot of them planted the light Italian varietals and Pizzini is a very family affair. I love it.

JD: Pizzini Wines. Absolutely superb. Well, we’ve had a fascinating show. We’ve talked money with John Curren, the CEO of Australian Shareholders Association. What a wonderful talk with Renee as well.

KF: I know it was very heartfelt. And I think we can all learn a lot from that documentary.

JD: And I’m going to take that winery tour. I think it sounds very good. The ultimate Winery Experience, learning more from the actual growers and the owners of the estates.

KF: Meeting the real people.

JD: Yeah. Thank you, Kate Shilling for telling us about that. And we’ll see you next time weren’t we Kaye?

KF: I can’t wait.

JD: Kaye Fallick is the publisher of your Life Choices website. This is Mind Your Own Retirement. We’ll be back next time. But please, folks, do get your friends onto yourlifechoices.com.au. It’s absolutely free to become a member. So much information. It’s all there for you. And we’ll see you next time on Mind Your Own Retirement.