Seeking a memorable King Valley experience

26 Jan 2018 Wangaratta Chronicle, Wangaratta VIC (General News) by Anita Mcpherson PROVIDING experiences which are unique to the King Valley and increase visitation are key objectives shared by members of Wines of the King Valley who gathered at Dal Zottos winery in Whitfield this week. Four of the King Valley wineries, including Dal Zottos, Sam Miranda of the King Valley, Pizzini Wines and Darling Estate Winery, will share $50,000 in funding in the latest round of the State Governments Wine Growth Fund. Their projects are among 65 across Victoria to receive funding in round two, with grants totalling $1,184,793 and supporting total project costs of over $3.8 million, aimed at capturing new opportunities and addressing challenges the industry has experienced. The local projects include plans by Sam Miranda of King Valley to develop a space for a cooking school and function area including a wood fired pizza oven. Mr Miranda said the dedicated area would provide a food focus beyond the kitchen, where visitors could see and touch and be involved in traditional food preparation. He said in the 15 years since hed been involved in the hospitality side of the business hed seen it evolve from people coming to taste your chardonnay to wanting an authentic experience and to meet the family behind the business. They want to know who you are and what youre about the whole genuine article, he said. Natalie Pizzini said the opportunity to engage with the families involved in the business, was what gave the region its point of difference. She said providing hands-on experiences that created long lasting memories, rather than to simply offer wine tasting, was particularly important in a region which unlike others, does not charge visitors to taste. Having a hands-on infrastructure space, which can be multi-use whether for festivals or during down time for other activities gives you an opportunity to draw people to the valley not just to taste wine, she said. Pizzini Wines has plans to renovate an old tobacco kiln to create a private wine tasting space for groups, which could also be used for an artist in residence program and pop-up shop for artisan producers. Ms Pizzini said the iconic structures which are found in the Alpine and King Valleys, and nowhere else in Victoria, capture the attention of visitors. Its the basis of our story and where weve come from people know where they are when they see them, she said. It prompts questions from customers, and then that gives you the opportunity to tell the story. Ms Pizzini said another major challenge was to tempt international tourists who were not self-drive or repeat customers, to venture more than an hour from Melbourne for a wine experience. She said the cost to transport souvenired wine purchases made overseas it was necessary to offer an alternative experience customers would be attracted to and willing to pay for, which would reinforce the brand on their return home. The wineries met with Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) and shadow assistance minister for rural and region Australia, Lisa Chesters (MHR, Bendigo), this week to discuss the upcoming Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement and the importance of local producers retaining the right to use the name Prosecco for the popular wine variety now associated with the King Valley. Caption Text: NATURAL ASSET: King Valley winemakers including John Darling, Sam Miranda, Michael Dal Zotto, Natalie Pizzini and Brown Brothers Darren Vincent are looking forward to future growth in the King Valley. PHOTO: Anita McPhersonLicensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.