Robyn Lewis – founder and CEO of VisitVineyards.com
Australia's leading online wine and food travel guide
Robyn Lewis, the founder and CEO of VisitVineyards.com, has over seventeen years experience working in tourism and marketing, backed by extensive international experience and a background in strategic planning, project management, brand development, digital marketing and wine and food innovation, in Australia and overseas.
Robyn's deep-seated interest in food and wine began with her early cooking efforts as a child. Dining out was a regular family activity, and at age seven she was introduced to wine appreciation by the maitre d' of Florentino's, one of the fine dining restaurants her family treated her to.
So began a life-long love affair with food and wine, which led her to the culinary-rich landscape of Europe to study a Master of Life Sciences degree at Oxford. She then embarked on challenging roles in project design and management in economic development in Asia and Africa and strategic planning for a number of aid organisations, including the World Bank.
Returning to Australia in the 1990s, Robyn was the Project Manager and Inaugural Curator of the Moorilla Museum of Antiquities, now MONA., and built a successful brand loyalty marketing program for a beverage company in Queensland.
In Victoria she noticed how rapidly the wine industry had evolved. Keen to explore the regions and uncover some hidden gems, she found herself swamped with hundreds of brochures and maps which made planning regional trips confusing and time consuming. Thus the idea of VisitVineyards.com was born.
Moving to the Coal River region in Tasmania to manage a boutique vineyard with her husband Charles, an experienced viticulturist and rural property valuation expert, Robyn set about developing the foundation for Visit Vineyards.com, with the intention of assisting travellers to find and connect with the many fantastic wine and boutique food producers around Australia.
The launch of VisitVineyards.com was in September 2008. Robyn's long term goal that Visit Vineyards.com becomes the market leader for online wine, food and related lifestyle travel, and a community for wine and food-loving consumers has now been realised.
VisitVineyards.com now has over 50,000 subscribers (Oct 2015) and a website with well over a million visitors annually, which regularly outranks those of three Australian State tourism authorities.
Robyn was also awarded the Telstra BusinessWomen's Nokia Innovation Award for Tasmania in 2010.
The VisitVineyards iPhone app, launched in 2011, was recently described as the best wine travel app in Australia, by leading wine sales company Dan Murphy's.
Robyn also gives back to industry, establishing and running the highly regarded Social media + wine group (housed on Facebook), which aims to educate and be a resource for wine and related tourism operators to develop their practice of digital marketing. This group has over 1400 members and taps into a great deal of international expertise. (You're most welcome to join).
In 2011 she was an instrumental part of a team which raised a record A$275,000 for the victims of the Queensland floods and Cyclone Yasi, and a futher $50,000 for the Victoria Bushfire Relief Appeal in 2009.
The VisitVineyards.com team is based in various locations throughout Australia, providing knowledge, experience and local points of contact. They include Kerry Scambler (Alliance & Promotions Manager, Hobart), Mike Cretan (IT, Hobart), Andrew Chataway (IT and subscriptions management, Adelaide) and Charles Lewis (financial management, Hobart).
VisitVineyards.com has also developed international content alliances, including London based wine writer Jancis Robinson MW, Edward Ragg in China and Evan Goldstein MS in California.
For further information view Robyn's profile on LinkedIn »
To see our recommendations, ratings and reviews you must be a logged-in subscriber.
To subscribe please enter your email address in the "Subscribe Now - it's Free" box on the right and click the "Join" button, or fill in this form >