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Published Friday 25 November 2022

Seymour local business finalist in 2022 Victorian Tourism Awards

We spoke with owner Sarah D’Orria to learn of her journey of starting her business in 2021 to finalist in the 2022 Victorian Tourism Awards.

Just as COVID-19 restrictions were beginning to ease, Rambling Wine Tours saw an opportunity to offer people a way to explore the beautiful scenery of Regional Victoria whilst tasting the regions finest food, produce and award-winning wines. "Travellers were looking for locally sourced food, authentic experiences and immersive activities…the only problem was no one wanted to be the designated driver!" says Sarah.

"There was a clear gap in the market for chauffeur driven tours and, being a long-term local and lover of all things food and wine, I decided to embark on a winery tour business. It was an opportunity not only for me to fulfil the dream of having my own business, but also to collaborate with local producers and small businesses to re-build regional tourism."

Starting any new business comes with a great deal of uncertainty but doing so throughout a pandemic makes it even more daunting. "I tried not to get on caught up in the negativity of the pandemic and instead focused on being creative about what was coming afterwards so that I was ready. I used the lockdowns to build brand identify and create bonds and networks that would likely last far longer than the pandemic."

Sarah acknowledges that the local community were very instrumental in Rambling Wine Tour's success. "When the locals learnt about Rambling, they began booking tours knowing full well that they were not only supporting a new business, but the money they were spending would stay in the community and help re-build local tourism, people were reunited after months of lockdowns, laughing and having fun all the while enjoying authentic food and good quality wine – all with a picture-perfect backdrop.” Word began to spread, and with a strong social media presence and brand identity, Rambling Wine Tours quickly grew from 1 tour guide and 1 vehicle, to 3 vehicles and 7 (local) accredited casual drivers/tour guides.

After Rambling Wine Tours was nominated in the “New Business” category of the 2022 Victorian Tourism Awards, Sarah was required to complete a pre-assessment and submit a written submission which was followed up by an onsite visit from and award judge.

To create a successful business, Sarah advises finding out what you are passionate about. "For me it’s the unique experiences I create for my customers which comes from my passion and commitment to support other small local business and contribute to sustainable travel. I want to help visitors discover and fall in love with not just the eclectic vineyards and decadent food culture that our region has to offer, but also the awe-inspiring landscapes in Central Victoria."

We wish Rambling Wine Tours all the best in the 2022 Victorian Tourism Awards.

The 2022 Victorian Tourism Awards will take place on Thursday 1 December 2022.

This page was last updated on 25 November 2022.