Ricca Terra Farms received $70,000 in funding under Round 2 of the Premium Food and Wine Co-Innovation Cluster Program to establish a cluster of Riverland grape growers and winemakers. Funding received through the Cluster Program was used to establish a group of likeminded growers and develop a new business model—moving away from a traditional approach to growing and selling grapes to local wineries. Part of this work was achieved through branding, promotional and educational activities to better showcase cluster member wines. The cluster’s four foundation members are: Ricca Terra Farms, Sherwood Estates, Karelia Station, Liebich Family Vineyards, each operate family-run businesses in the Riverland and bring a unique product offering to the group.
“Our regional community needs leadership, it needs a vision that shows that the future is bright and full of opportunities. A successful and profitable wine industry in the Riverland results in jobs, opportunities and investment and that’s what is at the heart of our cluster model. It’s through collaboration and by doing things differently that we’re seeing things change for the better.” - Ashley Ratcliff, Managing Director, Ricca Terra Farms Pty Ltd.
The collaborative nature of the cluster created significant points of difference and competitive advantage for all members. As awareness of the cluster group has grown the demand for grapes from cluster members has increased and this demand is seeing profitability rise with supply interest from non-traditional buyers. A number of new wines, made from grapes grown by cluster members, have been developed by winemakers outside of the Riverland, showing a clear demand beyond the local market for the region’s premium varieties. These types of activities are already having flow on benefits for cluster members who are seeing strong commercial performance in their business units.
“The collaborative model is giving us efficiencies of scale and a lot of advantages when supplying our customers. We’re building a competitive edge and greater margins by having the unique ability to offer winemakers a greater choice in varieties.” - Ashley Ratcliff, Managing Director, Ricca Terra Farms Pty Ltd.
A key milestone in the project was the launch of the cluster’s commercial brand, 100th Monkey Vignerons, in June 2016. This unique identity is now being used to promote the ongoing activities and products of the cluster.
The increased value of fruit out of the Riverland region, through the introduction of an effective branding and marketing strategy, is leading to a number of long-term opportunities for growers. As a result of the success achieved to date, the cluster is now looking at how to develop a leverage their identity to support the promotion of premium warm region fruit and are introducing innovative approaches to grape sales.
As part of its ongoing priorities, the cluster also aims to further develop grape sale opportunities in the region by sourcing varieties outside those supplied by cluster members. This aims to not only boost the cluster’s offering but also drive profitability in the region. Other activities will involve developing strategies to attract new winemaking customers and increasing planting areas to grow the sale of high performing grape varieties.
“We were willing to risk changing the way we operate our businesses to gain greater efficiencies in the long-term and hopefully this will then become a model for others in the area.” - Ashley Ratcliff, Managing Director, Ricca Terra Farms Pty Ltd.
Further information on 100th Monkey Vignerons can be found by visiting: www.100thmonkeyvignerons.com.au.