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Tuesday 10 May 2016

Huge boost for wine tourism as Seppelt reverses controversial closure

When I visited the Grampians region a week or so ago there was much anger in the region that Treasury Wines Estates was going ahead with the closure of the historic Seppelt Great Western cellar door. 

With its historic underground cellars, accommodation and function facilities, the Seppelt facility is one of the major wine tourism drawcards in Western Victoria.

It had been scheduled to close at the end of June - until an out-of-the-blue announcement this morning that Seppelt would remain open. 

Seppelt said in a press release that 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".

The statement said 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.

Adam Carnaby, Seppelt senior winemaker, 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.

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 sixty 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. 

Located in Great Western since 1865, Seppelt is one of Australia’s most historic winemakers, producing wines from an exceptional collection of vineyards throughout Victoria. The on-site winery will be mothballed for the immediate future. 

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