Seppelt has announced that its historic Great Western Cellar Door, tours of its underground ‘Drives’ cellars, accommodation and function facilities will remain open as the home of Seppelt and as tourism attractions for the Grampians region.
Treasury Wine Estates announced in October last year that it was closing the winery and cellar door, and selling the vineyards.
Seppelt says it has identified new opportunities to grow its Cellar Door through local partnerships, and is in discussions with local family business Great Western Enterprises (GWE) to work together on the marketing, management and presentation of the site.
Current employees will be given the opportunity to remain employed at the cellar door, and under the new partnership approach there are plans for funds raised from tours of Seppelt’s Drives to contribute to the development and growth of the Great Western township via the Great Western Future Plan.
Seppelt senior winemaker Adam Carnaby said the announcement was great news for the Grampians region, and Seppelt. “This is something we have been working on for months, so I’m delighted to be able to confirm the news today that the Seppelt Great Western Cellar Door will remain open,” he said.
“Furthermore we are excited about the opportunity for our Drives to be used as an avenue for fundraising for the local township.”
Seppelt’s Drives are a heritage listed three-kilometre labyrinth of excavated wine-maturation cellars hidden beneath the site. From 1868 out-of-work gold miners began digging the tunnels and continued for over 60 years. A key tourist attraction for the region, they are the longest underground cellars in the southern hemisphere and provide a fascinating glimpse into Victorian history.
The announcement reinforces the commitment from Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) to reinvigorate and grow its regional brands, including Seppelt, through the Regional Gems initiative announced in January.
Christian Sim, general manager of Regional Wines for TWE said, “Regional Gems was established in January, and was tasked with growing some of TWE’s most iconic regional wines, including Seppelt. We have already increased this year’s vintage intake across the Gems portfolio by over 40 percent and today’s announcement is another way of demonstrating our commitment to Seppelt and the Gems portfolio.”
GWE is headed up by local businessman Danial Ahchow. Danial and his family are active members of the Grampians community and have a long-standing relationship with Seppelt.
“Seppelt has always been synonymous with Great Western. Having grown up in Ararat, it’s exciting to be involved in the next chapter of the Seppelt Cellar Door and the role it will play as a tourism destination for the local community,” said Ahchow.
“We are looking forward to working with Danial who has demonstrated business acumen, a strong local connection, and great enthusiasm for Seppelt,” said Sim.