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Mega centre a boost to NE Victorian wine sector

A centralised wine bottling, warehousing and distribution centre is on the drawing board following a feasibility study conducted by the Wangaratta Council and the Australian Alpine Valleys Agribusiness Forum. Planned to cater for 90 boutique wineries in the five GI regions of Victoria’s north east (King Valley, Alpine Valley, Glenrowan, Rutherglen and Beechworth) the centre is expected to provide annual savings to wine producers estimated at $2 million. The total annual output is estimated at 2m cases of wine.

According to Graham Nickless from the Wangaratta Shire’s economic development arm, only the larger wineries like Brown Brothers at Milawa have the scale to cater for and absorb wine bottling and warehousing costs. The group is presently seeking a developer to construct the facility, proposed to be within easy reach of the Hume Highway corridor, with the group to be appointed to meet all establishment costs.

The location is considered ideal as a distribution centre and will overcome the need for some producers to have other interstate warehousing to serve the east coast markets in particular.

The proposal sought submissions before 30 November with a group of nine wineries — not including Brown Brothers – appointed to assess the submissions and create a shortlist of six which will be further reduced to two contenders.

The concept plan has also been supported by the Victorian Government as regional assistance after the devastating bushfires which affected tourism and many vineyards earlier this year. But the project has largely been driven by local wineries and Local Government in the region.

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