Australia recently held an experiential wine and food pairing event in New York City that offered a taste of the country’s magnificent wines, and a glimpse of the vineyards, culinary experiences and meetings facilities that await groups.
The Honorable Steven Ciobo, Australia’s minister for trade, tourism and investment, and officials from Tourism Australia hosted the tasting event, and member wineries of the Ultimate Winery Experiences Australia joined in with wine from Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania.
Ciobo explained to the group that tourism is a major driver of Australia’s national economy; local governments, therefore, are eager to make business and leisure groups happy by providing them with unique experiences. “We also offer high quality and a premium aviation product from North America to Australia,” Ciobo said, “and once groups arrive they can have a safe and secure environment with immersive, diverse and authentic experiences.”
Wine tourism continues to grow year-over-year in Australia, explained Sally Cope, executive officer at Ultimate Winery Experiences, whose 22 winery members guarantee groups a diverse and top-notch food and wine experiences across the Australian continent.
“This is an immensely exciting time for Australian wine tourism. All of our winery members recognize the appetite for ‘beyond the cellar door’ experiences that go further than wine tastings and bottles of wine to purchase. Most are offering a complete tourism experience with great restaurants, fabulous venue spaces, tours and some really exciting behind-the-scenes winery experiences. We anticipate strong growth from the business events sector as awareness grows of our specialist offerings and experiences.”
The Ultimate Food & Wine Adventure
Just an hour or two south of Melbourne (depending on which route you choose) on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Montalto Vineyard & Olive Grove offers pinot noir, chardonnay and cuvee wines, which we experienced during the cocktail hour portion of our evening. The location of Montalto is such that groups can stay in Melbourne and experience the winery with its award-winning restaurant serving seasonal local produce cooked on wood fire grills. Same goes for the Jackalope Boutique Hotel at Willow Creek Vineyard, also on the peninsula and a recent winner of a Gourmet Traveller magazine award.
In Western Australia, just three hours south of Perth, the elegant Leeuwin Estate, located in Margaret River served us riesling, sauvignon blanc semillon and a chardonnay during our first course of chilled Australian oyster and heirloom tomato tartare. And Just outside Adelaide in South Australia is Penfolds Magill Estate Cellar Door with its Estate Restaurant. Here, groups can experience South Australian produce and educational wine tastings. Penfolds served our group a wonderful shiraz with a 28-day dry aged Australian rib eye for our second course. In the Barossa Valley, also just outside of Adelaide, is Seppeltsfield winery, which poured us a 100-year-old vintage tawny port to complement mandarin and holy basil truffles. Groups visiting this winery will have the unique experience of a history tour that pairs tawny ports from the winery’s Centennial Collection to major world events such as the 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic or 1969 moon landing.
Yet another wine region of Australia that planners should consider is Moorilla Estate north of the city centre in Hobart, Tasmania. They served our group a traditional brut and a rose brut with a trio of desserts, including a dark chocolate terrarium sphere and a salted caramel floating torte. Groups can have a wine, food and art experience at MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), which houses Australia’s largest private art collection, a dining option and luxe boutique accommodations.
Yes, when it comes to food and wine, planners certainly have a plethora of experiences and regions to choose from across Australia.