SANDALFORD Estate’s chief executive Grant Brinklow has hailed the winery’s top honours at the WA Tourism Awards as “a win for the Swan Valley”.
The winery scooped the Sir David Brand Award for Tourism at last Saturday’s 2015 WA Tourism Awards, the same night the estate hosted Neil Diamond to a crowd of about 16,000.
The award recognises the best overall contribution to the tourism industry.
It is not a first for the pioneering Swan Valley tourist spot, which won the Sir David Brand Award for Tourism nearly 10 years ago.
Sandalford also boasts a raft of prestigious awards for its wines and cuisine.
Mr Brinklow said the Swan Valley was entering an exciting era and the award was testament to the quality of tourism offerings in the region.
“We are extremely ecstatic and humbled,” he said.
“To be recognised as the best of the best… There is no comparison to this in the tourism sector.
“You look at the winners across each category and they are all outstanding, world-class operators in their respective field.
“It’s a real honour and a privilege for us to win that.”
Sandalford Estate is in its 175th year, and is one of the local businesses that has adapted to new economic environments and created new opportunities.
“If you look back to the Swan Valley maybe 20 years ago it was mainly viticulture or market garden focused… there wasn’t much in the way of food and beverage offerings,” Mr Brinklow said.
Sandalford’s renaissance started in 1991 when Peter and Debra Prendiville took over and spent about $6 million redeveloping the company’s facilities.
“The Prendivilles coming in and making the investment they did then gave confidence to others to follow suit.
“The region can no longer be seen as the poor cousin to Margaret River because it just has so much to offer,” Mr Brinklow said.