VisitVineyards.com CEO wins Nokia Business Innovation Award

2010 Telstra Business Women's Awards

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Robyn Lewis, the founder and CEO of VisitVineyards.com

Robyn Lewis, the founder and CEO of VisitVineyards.com

 

Robyn Lewis, founder of VisitVineyards.com, Australia's leading culinary travel guide – connecting more than 30,000 wine, food and tourism businesses in regional Australia to wine and food travellers – has won the Nokia Business Innovation Award announced at the 2010 Telstra Business Women's Awards in Tasmania this week.

VisitVineyards.com provides wine and food travel information to the five million annual visitors to Australian vineyards and the 1 million inbound internationals who visit vineyards and cellar doors annually. It has recently established an unprecedented alliance with motoring giants RACV and RACT, an Australia-first initiative supporting regional Victoria and Tasmania, giving their members – and those of AAA in Australia and worldwide visiting those States – significant cellar door and other discounts.

In a win-win, the program will bring significant benefits to winegrowers and makers, many of whom are struggling with wine oversupply, the impact of climate change,  and the current high Australian dollar. Related food producers and regional restaurant operators will also benefit.

Robyn Lewis established VisitVineyards.com in 2002 and from small beginnings Robyn's brainchild now enables travellers to plan and maximise the benefits of visits to vineyards, cellar doors and food producers across 60+ regions of Australia.

'More and more, people want to connect with food and wine producers. What we do is enable them to do that – to find who and where they are, to make contact, to plan their visits, and to get in touch by by email and even order their produce when they get home.'

VisitVineyards.com now has 12 employees in three States, and plans to extend its services.

'We faced tough times in the beginning. Raising capital as a Tasmanian was extremely difficult; doubly so being a woman. Then the business officially launched two weeks before the global financial crisis, forcing us to change strategic direction from business to consumer to business to business. So far it has worked – and we’re by no means slowing down.'

If there is one piece of advice to pass on to others, says Robyn, it is 'If you believe in what you are doing and have supporting market evidence, never give up.'

The Nokia Business Innovation Awards recognise the importance of innovation to business renewal and growth. 'Innovation takes a creative mind, the spirit to challenge the accepted and the courage and energy to bring new ideas to life successfully'.

 

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September 29th, 2010
 
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