Project 3.4.4

Identifying cost reduction opportunities by mapping the grape and wine value stream

Project summary

As part of the its mission to support the profitability of the Australian wine sector, the AWRI, with the South Australian Government’s Department of State Development, the McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association and Scholle Packaging, established a design thinking program to showcase the development of business initiatives that engage consumers on attributes other than price. It was decided to progress one of the concepts (the VALO program) to commercialisation to demonstrate how innovation can rapidly generate demand for wine at a high premium. This program also aims to cultivate new opportunities for Australian wine producers to access and exploit business innovation tools.

Latest information


The VALO program is centred on the creation of an iconic wine from McLaren Vale. To develop the VALO wine, a call was made for barrel samples of the best available 2014 McLaren Vale Shiraz and a total of 25 samples were received for screening. A winemaking panel screened the barrel samples and finalised the VALO blend.

The first VALO event was successfully completed and received very strong positive feedback from participants and collaborators. The event included:

  • A sensory insights session informing participants of their supertaster status and their sensitivity to various flavour compounds and retronasal olfaction effects
  • A ‘meet the winemaker’ session where four winemakers introduced barrel samples
  • A wine blending session
  • A fine dining lunch with the VALO winemaking panel at which a tailored flight of wines was presented.

A production replica of the VALO amphora has been built, designed by celebrated glass artist Nick Mount. The VALO amphora incorporates a titanium stem sealed to a glass grape with a unique magnetic coupling. The amphora is currently undergoing testing to ensure the integrity of the magnetic seal and slight design adaptations to enhance the opening experience.

Spin-off benefits from the VALO project to date include:

  • Ongoing interest in the product from the Chinese market
  • Grants supporting applications of design thinking and luxury business strategy to develop a bespoke wine for the Chinese events market and target the creation of consumer value for the Barossa Valley.

Project Team

Vince O’Brien

Find out more

Why wine innovation must become cool again – article from WBM July/August 2016
Functional and luxury foods report – Luxury wine opportunities in Asia