It's a gem! McLaren Vale winery scoops global tourism award

11 November, 2019

McLaren Vale's Gemtree Wines has won a global wine award at the Great Wine Capitals Global Network International Best of Wine Tourism Awards, beating nominees from nine other worldwide destinations.

Gemtree Wines was crowned the 2019 Global Winner for Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices at awards held in Bordeaux, France.

The boutique winery was recognised for implementing environmental practices and sustainable innovations and developments enhancing the visitor experience.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said it was fitting to see a South Australian winery recognised on the world stage for its sustainable approach.

"I commend Gemtree Wines on a remarkable award and it is a true testament to the quality of South Australian wines and the associated tourism experience that this winery is recognised on the world stage," Minister Whetstone.

"This award is more than just recognition for wine tourism, it demonstrates the state's ability to provide a unique experience and tell the story of grape to glass.

"Tourists spend $2.8 billion every year in regional areas of South Australia, including on our premier food and wine experiences, and the state's wine industry generates $2.15 billion in revenue.

"Gemtree has one of the largest certified biodynamic vineyards in Australia and they are proud custodians of the land, so this award is truly fitting."

Certified organic and biodynamic, Gemtree Wine's cellar door is sustainably built with recycled materials and sits next to a ten-hectare nature reserve, which the family planted with over 50,000 natives. Owners Melissa and Mike Brown welcomed the award and said that they were passionate about demonstrating that running a business doesn't need to have a huge impact on the environment.

"We are thrilled to receive worldwide recognition, especially as we have only been running the tourism experience side of Gemtree Wines since 2017," said Ms Brown.

"With the support of the South Australian Tourism Commission and regional state bodies we've really grown in confidence as a business, and we've taken the step of fully resourcing the tourism side. It's not just an adjunct to winemaking; we're taking wine tourism seriously and it co-exists with our wine brand," said Mr Brown.

"An important part of being a custodian of the land is that we continue to educate the generations with us at the moment. At our cellar door we can share one-on-one why we farm biodynamically, and people leave us enriched with that information. They can take it away and enhance their own sustainable practices – that's a core philosophy for our business."

The Great Wine Capitals Best of Wine Tourism Awards celebrate innovation and excellence in wine tourism in key wine regions across 10 countries, and provides an opportunity for wineries to gain exposure and recognition for their commitment to providing leading wine tourism experiences.

The 10 Great Wine Capitals include: Adelaide (South Australia), Bilbao / Rioja (Spain), Bordeaux (France), Lausanne (Switzerland), Mainz / Rheinhessen (Germany), Mendoza (Argentina), Porto (Portugal), San Francisco / Napa Valley (USA) and Valparaìso / Casablanca Valley (Chile), and Verona (Italy).