Winery Design Architect Cellar Door | Barossa Valley 14

Wine Tourism Treasure Map

Wine Has Been Long Appreciated as the Treasure. Now We Must Create the Map.

A place that is designed for a great wine tourism experience should be like climbing into a treasure map. At least as a specialist Wine Tourism Architect, I think it should be.

My daughter is into adventure books. You know the ones where the hero goes on an exciting journey across foreign lands? My favourites are the ones that have a map inside the front cover. Great lands are revealed with intriguing features that spark your imagination – places that come to represent the successes and challenges of the hero’s journey, and act as guides on the path toward the treasure. We can be captivated by the story, follow the hero’s journey, understand their destination and appreciate the treasure… but the intricate details of the map allow us to climb inside those places and imagine our own part in the adventure.

We go back to those books time and time again. They have become classics in our house because they offer more than a story or map. They bring to life a place – landscapes, buildings and spaces – where we can imagine the part we would play and how we might obtain that treasure ourselves.

If the treasure is the wine, then to create wine tourism, bring your story to life. Let visitors climb into the treasure map that is your place, understand your story, and take home some treasure.

When tourists visit your place, they want your story to be so tangible that they can read it in your walls, feel like they are climbing in to be part of it, and creating a memorable story of their own to tell. You are the hero of your story. It is your adventure that people want to be part of, and the landmarks along the way represent the challenges and successes that have shaped your business, brand and place. Create landmarks that bring your story to life for your visitors and you will have achieved a truly authentic and unique tourism offering.

Sounds good? It can be as simple as telling people how you came to be doing what you’re doing, allowing them to follow along in their own time to understand your journey and appreciate the treasures. But to create a truly unmissable experience, they must be able to imagine their own part in the adventure.

Create the map.

Telling stories through buildings requires careful planning and more interpretation from the visitor. But beautifully executed spaces can speak louder than words, to more people than your staff can possibly speak to in a day, and in a universal yet entirely personal language. Buildings can create a place where a story unfolds, just like a treasure map in an adventure book, and shape an experience that is not just memorable, but a story in its own right.

Start here…

  1. Atmosphere: Create a setting that has a tangible mood and personality. The character of your brand will guide you to decide what atmosphere you want to create.
  2. Plan the Journey: Map out what you want to tell people in a logical sequence. Arrange your journey to reveal a bit at a time and allow people to take their time moving through. Create a little mystery and intrigue but maintain sight lines that motivate people to keep going.
  3. Landmarks: Create landmarks that unfold your story in more detail. Use sight, sound, touch, taste and smell to imply how you felt at those moments and invoke a reaction in your visitor.
  4. Identify Key Elements: Be realistic about what is achievable and cost effective, and what is important and valuable. Find the vital, classic elements that tell the story and are important to your brand, and lose what is not.
  5. Sell the Treasure: To truly complete the adventure, the hero must possess the treasure. Think of the tasting as a part of the journey and adventure, and the wine purchase as obtaining the treasure.

Like some advice? Drop us a line and let’s just start with a coffee.

Article first published in Wine Business Magazine September 2018


For most tourism businesses, working on your buildings and grounds is a big deal. There is a lot of money and time at stake and can be difficult to know where to start. So let’s just start with a coffee.