Shottesbrooke Wines in McLaren Vale is a five-star Halliday rated winery, managed by second generation winemaker Hamish Maguire, and is known for its outstanding wine.
Shottesbrooke is also working hard to be recognised for its focus on vine health, with biosecurity worked into conversations at the cellar door and wine tourism biosecurity signs up in high traffic locations, asking people not to walk into vineyards.
Visitor Services Coordinator Chloe Gogoll is a passionate biosecurity ambassador. “We’ve looked at every part of our visitor experience, and devised strategies to keep our vines safe,” Chloe said.
“We’ve worked biosecurity into conversations with our visitors when they first arrive at the cellar door. Most of our visitors are chatty – they ask a lot of questions and they want information, so it makes sense to engage them in how they can help to keep our vines healthy.
“We talk about local Grenache vines that we source fruit from which are more than 90 years old, we talk about vineyards around the world that have been wiped out by phylloxera and we talk about phylloxera spreading in Victoria.”
Shottesbrooke has invested in six wine tourism biosecurity signs for their property.
“We have a sign at the front gate, we have a sign at the Picker’s Hut, our picnic area which is situated near vines and our creek, and we have a sign at our accommodation where people park, as well as at 2 locations at our restaurant,” Chloe said “These signs tell people not to walk into the vineyards, to protect the vines from pests and diseases.”
Signs have been placed on star droppers so that they can be moved out of the way of harvesters during vintage.
Shottesbrooke has also added expectations about biosecurity into its Booking Terms and Conditions. People booking functions at the business and restaurant are asked not to enter vineyards or allow their suppliers or guests into vineyards.
“In our weddings package information, we don’t include any photos of bridal parties walking down vine rows. When discussing what parts of the property the bridal party is able to access, we let them know that the vines aren’t accessible,” Chloe said.
“To make it easier, we direct them to safe places around the property that are perfect for photos. We show them photos of brides and grooms in our winery, or in our woodlot near the creek. We give them so many beautiful ideas for their photos, they don’t even ask to go into the vineyard.
“Then at functions, we ask the MC to include the instruction not to walk into the vineyard in the welcome speech. People are always super happy to say that – we’ve never had anyone say no.
“It’s really important that we do these things, especially for weddings, where there are often people coming in from interstate and sometimes overseas. Allowing visitors into our vines unchecked is too big a risk.”
When it comes to cellar door tours, Shottesbrooke doesn’t take visitors into the vineyard.
“We have safe gravel pathways between the buildings for people to use, and our biosecurity signs to guide them. It’s very clear,” Chloe said.
“There’s only been one time recently when people were taking photos near the vines and I said, ‘hey guys, it’s cool to take pics, but please don’t go into the vineyard’. They were fine with that.
“It just needs to be built into conversations – it’s just as important as telling visitors about your winemaking processes. The key is to keep it simple.
“And I think we should be talking to everyone about this – from 18-year-olds to 80-year-olds. Everyone is the target audience for biosecurity.
“If we don’t talk more about biosecurity, we won’t have any vines or wine to talk about.”