Published: 6 May 2022
Located in Victoria’s High Country, King Valley is set to become one of Australia’s leading wine destinations.
The region known as ‘Little Italy’ welcomes 590,000 visitors a year. Its draw card boutique wineries offer warm hospitality, gourmet food and specialty Italian Prosecco wine.
The first Prosecco vines were planted locally in 1999 by Dal Zotto Wines. Neighbouring winemakers soon followed suit and, in 2011, the area became known as Prosecco Road.
Soon Prosecco Road will attract even more food and wine lovers through a project aiming to bring new life to the region.
Enticing visitors to the food and wine trail
Dal Zotto Wines founder, Otto Dal Zotto, didn’t expect to create a major food and wine trail when he planted those first Prosecco vines on land once used to grow tobacco. His goal was much simpler – to make a decent drop that reminded him of his Italian birthplace.
Today, the King Valley leads Prosecco production in Australia and the popular Prosecco Road food and wine trail links numerous local wineries.
The Activating King Valley Prosecco Road project will work to bring new life to the region and encourage visitors to stay longer.
Key elements of the project include new luxury accommodation, an improved trail, adventure playground and visitor hub.
Project planning and design is currently underway with works expected to be complete by mid-2023.
New luxury accommodation
The region’s limited accommodation options have traditionally been a barrier to tourism growth. Around 60 per cent of King Valley visitors are day trippers.
That’s about to change thanks to $320,000 from the government’s Tourism Infrastructure Program to construct boutique accommodation at Dal Zotto’s Whitfield winery.
The property’s homestead, built in 1904, is being revamped to sleep up to eight guests. Another five accommodation pods are being constructed using recycled shipping containers.
Creating 10 local jobs, construction on the pods began in January and is on track to be finished mid-year.
CEO and winemaker Michael Dal Zotto said there was a huge appetite from visitors for modern accommodation in the King Valley.
“People will end up staying in the region multiple days,” Michael said. “You’re adding 20 people who can stay the night so they can visit other cellar doors, restaurants and eateries in the King Valley.”
The idea for onsite accommodation had been around for a while. The popularity of Visit Victoria’s temporary Wine Down, Pop Up accommodation pods in the area in 2019 showed that visitors wanted to stay longer.
“It provides options for people who want to travel and stay the night and enjoy the region, it just adds to the offering with our restaurant and the cellar door,” Michael added.
Victoria’s wine industry contributes $7.6 billion to the state economy each year and directly employs around 13,000 workers.