Who’s hitchhiking with you? That’s the question wine tourists in South Australia are being asked, as part of a new Vinehealth Australia campaign launched in February 2018 at Angove Family Winemakers in McLaren Vale, by Leon Bignell MP.
The campaign sees Phil, a human-sized yellow phylloxera bug, hitching a ride from vineyard to vineyard with various groups of tourists.
In reality, phylloxera is a tiny pest that can be picked up and spread by tourists on tyres, shoes and clothes. And while phylloxera is present in other parts of Australia, South Australia is proudly phylloxera free.
But tourists could walk through a phylloxera-infested vineyard in Australia or overseas, and unknowingly, pick up the tiny insect on their shoes or clothing, then be in a phylloxera-free vineyard later that day or weeks later and spread phylloxera there.
Our campaign asks tourists not to let Phil the phylloxera bug and his nasty pest friends hitchhike with them. We’re asking tourists not to walk or drive close to vines or down vine rows. Stick to the roads and paths.
The vines underpinning South Australia’s $2.11 billion wine industry are free of phylloxera and many of the other pests and diseases that have decimated wine regions around the world. But increased global and national trade and tourism means increased pest and disease risk.
There has been a doubling in the number of exotic plant pest incursions in Australia in the past seven years. And phylloxera is being detected in more vineyards in Victoria.
Research commissioned by Vinehealth Australia in 2017 showed that 44% of female visitors and 28% of male visitors to wine regions expect to be able to take photos amongst the vines as part of their wine tourism experience.
It’s wonderful that tourists are visiting our regions and enjoying our wines. In this campaign, we’re encouraging tourists to be part of our Australian wine story. We have some of the oldest vines in the world in South Australia, and we want to keep it that way.
Who’s Hitchhiking With You? is part of a broader Responsible Visitation Campaign, developed by Vinehealth Australia, which also includes:
- A new Wine Tourism Biosecurity Training Program for South Australian cellar door, marketing and tourism staff in wine regions, to arm them with knowledge and tools for keeping vines healthy.
- Tourist-friendly signage for cellar doors, to educate visitors about their role in keeping vines healthy.
- The creation of six ‘best practice’ cellar door sites in South Australian wine regions featuring the new tourist signage, and Cellar Door Kits with footwear disinfestation equipment, sturdy disposable shoe covers, rubber boots and educational materials. The cellar doors are Skillogalee Wines in the Clare Valley, Charles Melton in the Barossa Valley, Golding Wines in the Adelaide Hills, Angove Family Winemakers in McLaren Vale, Bremerton in Langhorne Creek and Zema Estate in Coonawarra.
The growing tourism market
In the 12 months to September 2017:
- Total tourism expenditure in SA grew to a record high $6.3 billion, up 2 percent for the year. This was led by international expenditure, up 13 percent.
- International visits to South Australia grew by 2.8 percent in the year to September 2017 to a record high of 442,000.
The Responsible Visitation Campaign is jointly funded by Vinehealth Australia and Primary Industries and Regions South Australia, with additional support from the South Australian Wine Industry Association.
For further information about the Responsible Visitation Campaign, contact campaign manager Cindie Smart on 0418 826 480 or email