INTRASTATE travellers opened their wallets to Penola and Coonawarra during July’s Cellar Dwellers celebrations, helping offset the impacts of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The month-long wine celebration hosted a large number of intrastate travellers joining Limestone Coast revellers for the annual festival.
Despite border restrictions between South Australia and Victoria, several of the 20 wineries involved in the celebrations recorded similar numbers to last year.
Coonawarra Vignerons marketing and events officer Heidi Eldridge said over 300 entries were received for the annual Cellar Dwellers Passport competition, which encouraged visitors to conduct tastings with at least five of the district’s wineries during July.
“We noticed cellar doors were as busy as ever and all our ticketed events were sold out with restricted numbers increasing demand,” Ms Eldridge said.
“They attracted a great crowd of locals and visitors alike with their venue filling to COVID-19 safe capacity.”
She said the region’s wineries reported hosting South Australian travellers who had not previously visited the region.
“These visitors were excited to experience the various offerings from Coonawarra cellar doors during Cellar Dwellers,” Ms Eldridge said.
Leconfield Coonawarra cellar door manager Kerrie Marcus said despite prior uncertainty over visitor numbers, the winery was among those to record similar visitor numbers to 2019.
“Our cellar dweller event was really good over the month although we were unsure how it would go with the border closed,” Ms Marcus said.
“But it went very well and we had good visitor numbers which was amazing.”
Ms Marcus said several Adelaide residents were among the visitors.
“A lot of the visitors said they had not been to the Limestone Coast before or if they had then it had been decades since their last visit so hopefully this means they will come back at some stage.”
Ms Marcus said the winery recorded a positive number of sales including those coming through tasting experiences.
“It is a relief to know we still have that South Australian support,” Ms Marcus said.