People and Places
25/06/2020
Innovation gold continues to grow on Peninsula vines

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Now here’s something exciting. As the hospitality and tourism industries re-emerge from the ‘viral’ ashes, our very own Mornington Peninsula Vignerons Association has also risen to new heights with a forward-thinking rebrand that aims to expand our region’s winemaking capabilities. With a new name and brand mark, the former MPVA is keen to build on the core principles and values that have seen this dedicated group of grape-growers and exceptional winemakers deliver stellar product since its formation in 1982. 

Chief executive officer Olivia Barrie explains: “COVID-19 has given us an opportunity to think about things differently, like everyone else, and to start the re-build with a fresh approach.   In a process which started over six months ago, we feel now is the ideal time to roll out our new branding.  This was developed through a lengthy process of briefing, workshopping and rigorous debate. We’ve done a lot of research and the feedback from our members and our ever-expanding community has been overwhelmingly positive. 

“We’ve begun promoting the new brand – Mornington Peninsula Wine – on our social channels and website, which is designed to encourage users to explore this incomparable region. It is imperative that we look outwardly and not only continue to provide Mornington Peninsula residents and businesses with premium wines but look farther afield both domestically and internationally. After 38 years of providing loyal and dedicated support to this outstanding winemaking community, we feel passionately about having a unique opportunity to share the stories of the region directly to wine lovers of all ages, backgrounds and locations.”

We all know the past few months have been incredibly difficult for businesses across the region, and our wonderful wineries have felt the weight of closure just like everyone else. The absence of wine glasses clinking over robust conversation and the sampling of delicious locally grown produce has left its fiscal and socially barren mark on an industry that traditionally survives and thrives on its connection with the public. For what is wine and food if there is no one to drink or eat it? 

From vine to vine across our undulating green land, Mornington Peninsula grape-growers and winemakers have continued to work hard at fine-tuning their craft to deliver exceptional quality to the market by thinking outside the box during this time of enforced adaptation. The much-anticipated annual Winter Wine Weekend was postponed last month, although many wineries swung open their cellar doors for tastings over the long weekend – albeit with safety-first restrictions. 

Olivia continues: “Even though we weren’t able to celebrate our wines as we usually do, some of our wineries opened earlier in the week before the Queen’s Birthday and others on the weekend itself. We spent a lot of time getting our booking systems right and coaching people on how the whole process would work. Patrons were incredibly patient and well-behaved. Wineries offered timeslots whereby people would come in, taste, and carry on their visit of the region. Around 25 opened, which is half of the wineries in the region, and the result was consistently good across the board. 

“Of course, there have been a lot of people in the industry who have been stood down as a result of COVID-19 as well, although the Government’s JobKeeper stimulus package has thrown a lifeline to many. MP Wine’s chair of the technical committee, Tyson Lewis, also organised a skills retraining program for staff who had lost their positions. Yes, many of our usual sales channels have been shut down due to COVID-19, but our focus now has to be on building the Mornington Peninsula’s reputation as Australia’s benchmark for pinot noir with a focus also on chardonnay, pinot gris and shiraz while ensuring the sustainability of our business and environment for the future. Our Mornington Peninsula Wine brand evolution is part of that. It’s time to move forward.”

Cheers to that. And while you’re raising your glass, remember the new name. You’ll be seeing it everywhere. 

LIZ ROGERS 

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