A toast to excellence

May 5, 2023 BY

The del Rios winery team were a proud winner at the 2022 Geelong Business Excellence Awards. Photo: SUPPLIED

Family-owned vineyard, winery, restaurant and cellar door del Rios Winery continue to be lauded within the community for their unique technological approach to creating premium artisan wines and high-quality estate grown produce.

Recognised as the winner of the 2022 Geelong Business Excellence Award (GBEA) for Regional Business, sponsored by Gartland, the business is driven to blend traditional influences with contemporary techniques to create great food and wine that can be enjoyed by all.

Established in 1996 upon an idyllic setting on the slopes of an extinct volcano, Mt Anakie, business owners Gus and Esther del Rio have worked to bring elegance, complexity and ability to everything that they do, hoping to combine all the elements to ultimately reflect the character of the Mt Anakie site.

With the assistance of their three sons Andreas, Joshua and Marcus, del Rios continues to go from strength to strength.

Co-owner and winemaker Josh del Rios said the reputation and scope of the business had skyrocketed since the team won the Geelong Business Excellence Award.

“It definitely helped us… I don’t think there is any downside in being recognised for running a good business,” Mr del Rios said.

“The main thing we focused on with our entry was technology and integrating that into the business.

“Once you’ve got a strong technological backbone, all your analytics and everything becomes a lot easier.

“We’ve changed and improved many facets of that side of the business over the past few years and it was cool to get that recognition to tell that story.

“We even had a few corporate functions booked off the back of winning the award, so it certainly helped us moving forward.”

Since May, 2020, del Rios partnered with Elco, a private equity ecosystem (founded by Joshua and Rebecca del Rio) to help expand and mature its operations.

Elco has a breadth of expertise in corporate strategy, finance, analytics, marketing, brand and creative design, technology and software development, and people and culture.

Mr del Rios said the technological side of the business appeared to be a real eyecatcher for the judges.

“We did a body of work across marketing, ecomm, finance and operation technology that brought in new statistics to allow us to improve our business,” he said.

“We also went through automated phone systems to streamline operational burden and used weather stations and bird lasers to scare the birds off the grapes.

“Ultimately, we just wanted to use technology at every opportunity to help us improve our craft, which in turn seemed to catch and interest the judges.”

Mr del Rios said that local businesses should not hesitate in putting in an entry to the 2023 Awards.

“Geelong has a fantastic business community, and we were thrilled to gain exposure through that network,” Mr del Rios said.

“Even the awards night is good fun and great brand exposure for anyone participating.

“I assume we will apply again… it’s not a bad exercise to step out of the day to day and reflect back on what you have done over the last year of business.

“If you can couple that all together, it’s pretty neat.”

To find out more about del Rios winery, head to delrios.com.au

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