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Adelaide officially a "Great Wine Capital"


A State Government push to formalise Adelaide as one of the world’s “Great Wine Capitals” has finally come to fruition, despite previous industry concerns.

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The Great Wine Capitals scheme is a network of international cities which, according to the group’s website, “share a key economic and cultural asset: their internationally renowned wine regions”.

InDaily can reveal Premier Jay Weatherill used his visit to a San Francisco Food and Wine Reception overnight to announce the state’s bid had been accepted, saying SA’s premium wine and accompanying tourism industries were “crucial for our economic growth and creating jobs in our regions”.

“Being a member of the Great Wine Capitals will ensure these industries continue to grow,” he said.

That’s despite – as InDaily reported last year – Australia’s one-time Great Wine Capital Melbourne previously relinquishing its membership of the program, citing a lack of cost-effectiveness.

SA Wine Industry Association chief executive Brian Smedley said last June that the industry was unconvinced about the merits of the accolade, which is only available to one Australian city at any one time.

Smedley said he understood Victoria did not see any economic benefit from its membership, “because of resourcing and because they didn’t necessarily see the value or cost of it actually justified the membership”.

“We’re in a process of identifying what are the benefits, and what’s the cost, and we’ll make a judgement as to whether it’s worthwhile,” he said at the time.

Smedley was this week included on an emailed missive – sent from Primary Industries and Regions South Australia and obtained by InDaily – outlining a “Draft Communications Strategy” for the announcement of Adelaide’s induction as a Great Wine Capital.

“It will be important for all partners to advise their board members/executive members and other identified key stakeholders in advance of the announcement to ensure they are informed and hopefully enthused,” the email said.

Smedley told InDaily today he thinks “the opportunities [membership] presents for the SA wine industry are reasonable”.

“It gives us a position on the world stage, to develop some benchmarks as to where we sit in the scheme of things,” he said.

He said it was up to the industry to determine “the programs and initiatives to truly raise the bar” to maximise the state’s involvement.

“We recognise these things do come at a cost,” he said, but emphasised the value of the program would not be assessed until sometime in the future, when wine and tourism sales could be quantified.

“Like any membership, you take it out and have to work on how to maximise the return.” he said.

The communication strategy outlined “key messages” to propound, chiefly that “Adelaide / South Australia is now part of the prestigious Great Wine Capitals Global Network, joining eight other cities whose wine regions are recognised as significant economic and cultural assets”.

“Membership acknowledges excellence in grape and wine production, a commitment to [research and development], education and wine tourism services, and the way in which the wine industry is inextricably linked to the city’s character, success and vision,” the strategy continues.

“There is only one member from each of the world’s major wine producing nations. Adelaide’s appointment was supported unanimously.”

Department of Primary Industries deputy chief executive Don Frater told a Budget and Finance Committee hearing last year that his department and the SA Tourism Commission had been spearheading the push to enrol SA, with the membership cost likely to be “substantially less” than $100,000.

The committee was told that Adelaide would be expected to host a “networking event” within two to three years of signing up as a Great Wine Capital.

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