Wine has been lubricating the flowering of the Canberra region’s tourism offering for years, but after drought, bushfires and a global pandemic, the time was ripe to remind the world about the area’s distinctive cool-climate vineyards and cellar doors.
The more than 60 small businesses that make up the Canberra Wine District have come together to launch a fresh new look and message about its unique qualities and the people who literally have a hand in producing some of Australia’s finest vintages.
It’s a pitch from the heart about the love poured into each bottle by a collection of artisan winemakers that can offer an intimate and personal experience to visitors.
On Monday, CEO of Four Winds Vineyard at Murrumbateman Sarah Collingwood told the launch event at Mount Majura Vineyard that the new Hearts and Vines campaign sought to capture the community and collaborative spirit that defined the district and allow it to go forward with a common set of goals.
She said the campaign was a fundamental shift for the district to position itself in its own storyline.
“It isn’t just in this brand’s imagery that we convey our commitment and distinctive story but also the language of Hearts and Vines captures how this district is made up of micro-wineries and vineyards and how most of our work is carried out by hand,” Ms Collingwood said.
Chief Minister and Tourism Minister Andrew Barr said that there couldn’t be a better time to launch a bold and innovative new brand for the district.
He said there was a lot of pent-up demand, and the government was focused on making it cheaper and easier to get into Canberra’s tourism region.
He praised the significant role the wine industry played in developing the Canberra region tourism offering.
“I’ve been the Tourism Minister for 15 years now … if you look back on where we were then and think about how far we have come, the sophistication of the tourism offering, I think I would point to examples of the journey, and a subset of the tourism industry that has led that journey for us, high on our list is the Canberra district wine industry,” Mr Barr said.
Ms Collingwood said it had been about a decade since the Liquid Geography campaign and the district needed a brand that reflected the growing diversity of businesses and wines in the area and its handcrafted nature.
The co-owner of Tallagandra Hill Winery at Gundaroo and creative Dave Faulks, who played a key role in crafting the rebrand, said the new look was about how the district could collectively project a stronger and more consistent image that set it apart from other wine regions.
“There’s no use us as a wine district being exactly the same as everyone else – our wines are different, the experiences are different. It’s about putting out the unique character of those stories,” Mr Faulks said.
He said the small-scale, hands-on nature of the district’s wineries added to the allure.
“It means you can inject a lot more heart and personal expression into the wine and into the stories that you’re telling,” he said.
Mr Faulks said new entrants and varieties also meant there could be lot of different experiences in a very small area.
He said the district needed to get the message out about what is available to visitors.
“We need to dial it up because it’s a serious plank of the Canberra regional tourism agenda, as it is in NSW, and certainly the Yass Valley and southern NSW,” he said.
“It’s really important. It’s one of the key economic drivers and so we’re not just about making wine. We’re about wine experience and wine tourism.
“If we get too narrow in what we’re doing, we’re not going to reap the full opportunities available to us.”
That includes matching more than just food to wine.
“My thing is I talk to people about matching wine with mood, not with food,” Mr Faulks said. “That’s why we’ve invested in a lot of sort of experiential stuff, especially music,” Mr Faulks said.
“What we found is the interrelationship of music with wine product and experience elevates your offer, and you get a dramatically different engagement with your customers. And they buy more wine!”
The Hearts and Vines refresh enjoyed cross-border government support, with Visit Canberra, Visit NSW and Yass Valley Council getting behind the new campaign.
To learn more, visit Canberra Wines.