Visitors and locals alike have welcomed the creation of the Ballarat’s first CBD cellar door by locally-owned family business, Mitchell Harris Wines.
With the support of a $110,000 grant under the Australian Government’s T-QUAL – Tourism Quality Projects program – the cellar door and modern wine bar have been installed in a restored nineteenth century building that historically housed a produce store, tentmaker’s factory and electrical motor workshop.
Opening the cellar door today, the Minister Assisting for Tourism, Senator Don Farrell, said the venue represented a vital collaboration between industry and government.
“Visitors are now able to enjoy wine tasting and education as well as a range of Australian craft beers and fresh food, the majority of which is sourced locally,” Senator Farrell said.
“The project has created new employment opportunities for the area, with 12 full and part-time staff to manage the workload and patronage to Mitchell Harris Wines.”
Senator Farrell commended the efforts of Federal Member for Ballarat Catherine King, who has worked tirelessly for the region and to boost tourism.
Ms King said quality venues were the key to attracting new visitors to the Ballarat region, as well as encouraging previous visitors to return and spend more time and money in the local area.
In 2012, the Ballarat Tourism Region had 2.1 million visitors – an increase of 7 per cent on 2011 numbers – who stayed a total of 1.7 million visitor nights and spent $421 million.
“The T-QUAL grants program works to support quality projects such as Mitchell Harris Wines, and is an important part of the Australian Government’s long-term tourism strategy, Tourism 2020,” Senator Farrell said.
The T-QUAL Grants – Tourism Quality Projects program is a competitive, merit-based program offered matched funding up to $110,000 for projects that lift the quality and variety of Australia’s tourism experiences. A major aim of the Tourism 2020 strategy is to double the value of overnight visitor expenditure by 2020.