As Australia’s oldest family-owned winery with 170 years of history to draw from, it’s no surprise that honouring Yalumba’s unique history is the key motivator in crafting a range of experiences and tourism services. It makes sense that their experiences are built around the landscape, grounds and buildings that have shaped the Yalumba brand, like the Yalumba Clocktower, a 5-foot clock that is wound by hand every week which features on their logo. Visitors are already aware of the heritage landmark before stepping foot in the Angaston grounds.
Lisa Anderson, Yalumba Tourism & Hospitality Manager talks about how every visitor to Yalumba will have a touchpoint with the brand’s historic architecture, starting with the fact that the Yalumba Wine Room used to be their brandy bond store, but now welcomes daily guests. Seated tasting experiences mean that guests have an opportunity to spend more time immersed in the history, rather than facing a tasting bench. Choosing from one of their ten tasting flights whilst outdoor overlooking the Clocktower, is a popular choice too.
More in depth experiences give guests access to a range of historical areas on the Yalumba grounds, such as the Signature Cellar that houses Yalumba’s famous Signature Wines, where each vintage is dedicated to someone who helped shaped the company. Or the Cooperage, the only on-site winery cooperage in Australia and one of five in the world. Or exploring tanks 11 and 12, iconic concrete wine tanks housed underneath the Clocktower that is now an award-winning space for private functions and dinners. Learning more about the stories of each space gives the visitor a greater understanding of how the custodians of the Yalumba brand, the Hill-Smith family, have not only shaped the brand over their generation’s respective tenure, but also the South Australian wine industry.
Marrying old and new is a key consideration, bringing contemporary comforts and new purposes into the historic spaces so that they can continue to be enjoyed for generations to come. Moreover, there is a growing focus on sustainability and increasing efficiencies to help protect the future of the environment, landscape and industry.
“We care about the future,” says Lisa. “The Yalumba Nursery is testament to that.” A tour dedicated to the Nursery and visiting Yalumba’s famous old vine Grenache vineyards, speaks volumes to how the brand is nurturing the future and protecting the past.
Just as the Hill-Smiths built upon their brand with each generation, the tourism offering at Yalumba is continuing to grow. Lisa smiles when hinting at an upcoming experience that focuses on The Caley, Yalumba’s most prestigious wine, which has only had four vintage releases from 2012-2015.
“The experience will be housed in a hut on top of a hill that overlooks vineyards and the property,” explains Lisa. “You will taste through the four releases of The Caley in a private tasting hosted by someone in the team. It might even be a family member, if you’re lucky.”
By using history to inform, educate and inspire, Yalumba’s architecture and landscape plays a pivotal role to turn a wine tasting into a memorable experience, making them a worthy recipient of the Best of Tourism Award for Architecture and Landscape.
With a wealth of history on the property, it’s no surprise Yalumba keep finding more stories, and from what I hear, there are plenty more to come.
Story written by 2020 Wine Media Cadet, Lachlan Aird