Regional Victoria - Re-Opening FAQS

We have been asked many questions over the past few days from our members in Regional Victoria as cellar doors and hospitality open up under the Third Step. 

Can I do tastings at cellar door? 
Yes, tastings must be seated, and you must adhere to the social distancing regulations as well as the density caps. 
 
Can I charge for tastings? 
There are no restrictions on charging or not charging for tastings.
 
Do I need to serve a meal or any food with a tasting or wine by the glass? 
No, this is not a requirement. 
 
Can I open from 17 September?
Yes, provided you undertake the following:

  • Complete a COVIDSafe Plan (template available here). Guidance for the COVIDSafe plan is available here
  • Maintain a strict limit of a minimum of four-square metres (4sqm) per person
  • Ensure density caps are adhered to
  • Maintain hygiene and frequent cleaning
  • Maintain attendance records of patrons for the purposes of contact tracing (not including takeaway services)
  • Carefully manage waiting areas to ensure social distancing
  • Ensure alcohol is only consumed whilst seated

Will we need to do the one tasting / one glass scenario so wine bottles don’t touch the glass that customers have used already? As was recommended in June? 
Yes the Cellar Door Re-Opening protocols document issued by Australian Grape & Wine is still in effect.

Please note that these are guidelines of best practice which Wine Victoria recommends, but ultimately this is your business decision, and not enforceable.

Can we temporarily operate outside our red line area to accommodate the temporary mandatory spacing?
Yes, but you will need a temporary licence from Council, details on how this can be obtained will be provided in the updated guidelines and we will provide a link as soon as possible.

Can customers stay for a drink only, or do they need to do a wine tasting then leave (as per cellar door restrictions in June 2020)?
They can stay for a drink as long as you are observing social distancing, capped numbers, seating distancing and time limits.

Is it OK for people to buy a bottle of wine or even a glass from our Cellar Door and sit outside to enjoy it?
If your previous licensing regulations allowed you to do so, and the patrons were seated and they were complying with social distance regulations, and time limits,

there is no impediment to selling by glass or bottle and sitting onsite to consume. 

Am I allowed to sell or offer tastings without food purchase? 
There are no requirements about the service of alcohol with food. 

What’s the policy on masks?
Staff must wear masks at all times.
Guests must wear masks apart from when consuming food and drink.

A reminder that the Business Victoria website or hotline, 13 22 15, provides information on how restrictions apply to your sector and support to help your workplace plan and respond to COVID-19.

Tuesday 15 September, 2020

The Premier Dan Andrews has today announced that Regional Victoria will, from 11:59pm tomorrow, progress to the Third Step of the reopening roadmap. At this Step, there will be no restrictions on the reasons for leaving home or distances travelled, although you won’t be able to travel into areas with higher restrictions. (Metropolitan Melbourne)

The good news is that cellar doors and hospitality will be able to operate once more. Tourist accommodation will also open for regional Victorians, travelling within Regional Victoria. 

  • Hospitality businesses will be able to serve patrons outdoors, with a cap of 50 seated patrons per venue, and an updated ‘two square metre’ density limit in place.
  • Indoors, venues can open with a cap of 10 seated customers per space – with up to two spaces per venue – and in line with the existing ‘four square metre’ density rule.
  • Tables must be spaced at least 1.5m apart, cleaned after every customer and the details of all patrons must be kept.
  • There will be a limit of 2 hours on bookings
The DHHS website is being currently being updated to reflect the changes in restrictions for regional Victoria, but further details will be found at this link.

Here are further guidelines to assist businesses in preventing the spread:  

 
THERE ARE NO CHANGES FOR METROPOLITAN MELBOURNE AT THIS TIME.
 
We acknowledge that it is difficult for businesses in the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula while Regional Victoria opens in this way, however the Premier confirmed today that the current 14 day case average indicates Metropolitan Melbourne is on track to reach the Second Step of reopening by 28 September.

BUSHFIRE TECHNICAL RESPONSE PROGRAM WINEMAKING REMEDIATION TRIALS

- CALLS FOR EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST -

The Wine Victoria Bushfire Technical Response Program aims to deliver a suite of technical support activities for Victorian grape and wine producers affected by the 2020 bushfires.

Wine Victoria, in partnership with Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) and Wine Network Consulting, are pleased to offer Victorian winemakers the opportunity to participate in a series of winemaking remediation trials. The aim of this initiative, which has been funded by the Victorian Government, is to identify and understand practical techniques which may be effective in managing 2020 vintage smoke-affected wines. 

If you are a Victorian based wine producer with wine made from grapes sourced from within Victoria, and you are interested in being involved, then follow the link below to submit an expression of interest. 

YES, I AM INTERESTED

COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS HAVE CHANGED FOR CELLAR DOORS

 On the weekend Victorian Premier Dan Andrews made an announcement to delay an increase to gathering limits in businesses and community facilities that had been slated to come into effect today. What follows is the updated and current information as of Monday 22 June and is effective immediately.

 In summary:

  • You can now sell alcohol by the bottle and glass or sell a wine tasting experience without a meal if patrons are seated. You are also allowed to offer free samples if you wish, to a seated patron at cellar door.
  • The number of people allowed in an enclosed space remains at 20 people until 12 July, provided the social distancing rule of one customer per 4m2 is met.
  • You may seat groups up to 10 (in the same party) who will be allowed to dine in or drink together at the same table
  • Tastings must continue to be seated until further announcements are made regarding this.

 

Here is the text from the DHHS website that has been updated this morning 22/6/20:

What about cellar doors at wineries? What restrictions apply?

Victoria’s winery restaurants and cafes can resume dine-in service, so long as they are meeting the requirements outlined by the Deputy Chief Health Officer including patron limits, physical distancing, signage and hygiene. 

 Wineries with a restaurant or cafe are able to sell alcohol by the bottle and glass or sell a wine tasting experience without a meal if patrons are seated. In addition, they can sell full bottles from their cellar doors for consumption away from the premise. 

As part of this sales process, where the liquor licence permits it, a cellar door may also choose to offer free samples of its produce to a seated customer to help the customer choose what to buy.

Kim Chalmers began her career in music composition and teaching at the Elder Conservatorium but returned to her viticulture roots in 2005. Kim manages the wine operations at Chalmers, making wines from heat and drought tolerant southern-Italian grape varieties.  In 2006, Kim trained with Al Gore as a Climate Project presenter and continues to be involved in working to educate and prepare Australian winegrowers for climate change through alternative varieties and sustainable practices.  In 2012 Kim travelled to Southern Italy on an Agrifood Skills International fellowship researching indigenous grape varieties and viticultural techniques and their potential application in Australia.  

Kim was Chair of the Victorian Government’s Wine Ministerial Advisory Committee from 2016-2019 and is Brand & Project Manager of the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show.  Kim often presents at viticultural and wine conferences some recent presentations were at the 2016 Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference in Adelaide, 2016 London Restaurant Festival in the UK and 2015 Enologica Montefalco in Umbria Italy. Kim has been integral in re-establishing her family's nursery business, personally selecting a suite of new varieties to import and establish in Australia.

We are delighted to announce that along with restaurants reopening from June 1, cellar doors will be able to provide free, seated-tastings for guests. Wine Victoria has been working closely with the State Government since the lifting of restrictions was announced by the Victorian Premier the Hon Daniel Andrews, and we are delighted by today’s announcement from the Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development, the Hon Jacyln Symes that will support the State’s struggling wine businesses.

 To enable social distancing rules to be enforced, wineries will need to adapt cellar doors to seat patrons.  If you have licenced outdoor areas these may also be used for seated tastings.
 
Please note: Paid tastings must be accompanied by a meal, and wines by the glass without food or other forms of paid wine-only service are prohibited.
 
We strongly recommend that cellar doors adopt best practice by using single-use disposable cups as spittoons for the foreseeable future to minimise the risk of contamination or virus transfer. You will need to follow all other health guidelines with regards to sanitation, social distancing and recording of visitor details.  Those requirements are set out in the following resources:

 We also recommend that you consider enrolling hospitality staff into the Restaurant and Catering Association COVID Ready training module.  It is a nominal fee per person and is a very good investment to minimise risk in your business.
 

We are expecting to receive a Q&A relating to cellar doors from the Government’s COVID-19 Response Team and so Wine Victoria will be hosting a Webinar on Tuesday 2 June at 5.00pm.  This invitation is open to all wineries and we strongly recommend you attend.
 
And finally, please make sure that you do the right thing and follow these guidelines to the letter.  Any breaches of the guidelines risk having this wound back for the entire industry.  We have worked incredibly hard to get to this point, let’s make sure once we are open, we can remain that way.

Friday, 29 May 2020 18:14

Bushfire Technical Response Program

The Wine Victoria Bushfire Technical Response Program aims to undertake the delivery of a package of technical support activities for Victorian wine industry participants affected by exposure to bushfire smoke during the 2019-20 growing season. While there is a focus on wine regions directly affected by smoke, the program seeks to deliver statewide benefits where possible. 

Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes this week announced $990,000 to support a program delivered in partnership with Wine Victoria that will help winemakers assess and remediate the effects of smoke exposure on wines being made from this year’s harvest. The program will include online technical workshops on recognising and addressing the effects of smoke exposure, evaluation of 2020 wines by expert sensory panels, support to produce test batches for evaluation and access to a benchmarking kit to help winemakers assess their own wines. 

The program will also include winemaking trials to evaluate techniques for treating smoke-affected wines and research activities to better characterise the impacts of smoke on a range of locally important varieties. A steering committee made up of the Victorian Government, Wine Victoria and representatives from affected wine regions will oversee the program, which will be rolled out immediately and run until September 2021. 

Further information will be posted here as programs and activities are rolled out. 

For more information on support for the wine industry after the bushfires visit agriculture.vic.gov.auagriculture.vic.gov.au or call 136 186.

Nikki Palun completed a degree in Mandarin Chinese and Commerce and has worked for De Bortoli Wines and Vinomofo as their Head of Global Exports, where she developed a deep passion for wine and the promotion of wine culture. She now runs her own wine company Occtava Wines Occtava Wines to follow her desire to make wines with their own unique personalities style.

Rob is the Global Director of Public Affairs at Treasury Wine Estates. He has extensive global and domestic experience in the development, implementation and auditing of best management practice programs for agriculture and natural resource management, as well experience in policy development, project management, organisational change and strategic planning. 

Tuesday, 21 January 2020
 

SAMPLE COLLECTION SERVICE FOR SMOKE TAINT TESTING

 
The Victorian Government is resourcing the collection and transport of grape samples for the laboratory testing of smoke taint indicator compounds. This supports Victorian grapegrowers and winemakers and the broader Victorian Wine Industry during the current bushfire crisis. 
 
The collection initiative is serviced and funded by the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions’ Agriculture Victoria. 
 
As vineyards are in different Phylloxera-management zones, movement of vine materials require specific certification to be received and sent on across zone and state borders. Agriculture Victoria staff will conduct quarantine inspections and provide permits and/or Plant Health Certificates as required at the designated collection point. Samples delivered to the collection point must be prepared according to laboratory instructions.
 
Frozen diagnostic samples must be in freezers at -18oC for a minimum of 24 hours prior to being brought into regional collection points listed below.

Samples will be collected and dispatched to laboratories by midday (12:00pm) on Mondays and Wednesdays, however with a first dispatch commencing this Thursday 23 January. 

Please note: no collection Australia Day Holiday, Monday 27 January.
 

Regional Collection Points*
NORTH EAST
Rutherglen DJPR Rutherglen 124 Chiltern Valley Rd, Rutherglen Matt Partridge 
(Winemakers of Rutherglen)
0428 744 434
King Valley Brown Brothers 239 Milawa-Bobinawarrah Rd, Milawa Sean Dean
(Wines of the King Valley)
0418 387 109
SOUTHERN VICTORIA
Yarra Valley Domaine Chandon 727 Maroondah Hwy, Coldstream
(Loading Dock)
Caroline Evans
(Wine Yarra Valley)
 0409 190 646
Mornington Peninsula Moorooduc Estate 501 Derril Rd, Moorooduc
(Cellar Door Building 9am-4pm)
Jeremy Magyar
(MPVA)
0417 231 946
Gippsland Traralgon Vineyard Burnets Rd, Traralgon East Marg & Leon Hammond
5174 0557
(Please call before drop off)
 
* If your region is not listed in the current listed collection points, please contact Wine Victoria

 
There are two laboratories accredited to undertake Smoke Taint testing of grapes and wine. These are Vintessential Laboratories and Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI). Grapegrowers/winemakers wishing to get samples tested for smoke taint resulting from the December 2019 – January 2020 bushfires should contact the laboratory of their choice directly to make sure that the laboratory can schedule the incoming samples and provide results within the required timeframe.
 
 
To submit to AWRI:

  • Read the guidelines for the collection of samples for smoke taint analysis in this link
  • Ensure your sample is accompanied by a submission form
  • Label your sample correctly. Attach these labels to your samples
  • Register with the AWRI as a client. If you do not have an existing account register in the AWRI system as a client 
To submit to Vintessential Laboratories:
  • Read the guidelines for the collection of samples for smoke taint analysis in this link
  • Ensure all samples are correctly labelled, attach these labels to your samples 
  • Grape samples from the Mornington Peninsula sent to Vintessential do not require a permit as they are in the same Phylloxera Management Zone
 
For more Bushfire Recovery Support information:
  • The Victorian government provides a range of bushfire recovery supportbushfire recovery support including financial support for business, personal and family support as well as practical information for managing farms after a bushfire. 
  • Wine Victoria will continue to communicate upcoming industry announcements regarding the bushfire response both directly and on our Facebook page.
  • The AWRI offers a free confidential technical support service to the Australian wine sector, if you have any enquiries on smoke taint please contact the AWRI Helpdesk (08) 8313 6600 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For further information and queries on this initiative:

Email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

North East Victoria

Andy Clark

M| 0436 804 656

 

Southern Victoria

Yan Lai

M|0436 830 944 

 

AWRI

Eric Wilkes

M| 0408 745 280

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Vintessential Laboratories

Wally Ceccato

M| 0439 864 240

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