Visitability Case Study - Sense of Welcome

Crittenden Estate


Crittenden Estate is one of the oldest family owned and operated wineries on the Mornington Peninsula. Established in 1982, they are passionate about creating quality cool climate wines that represent their region. 

As one of the pioneers of wine making on the Peninsula, innovation and excellence has always been something they have strived for as a business over the last 2 decades. With the growth of the Mornington Peninsula as a reputable wine destination, they knew they had to ensure that they didn’t take for granted their visitation and people’s desire to visit Crittenden Estate.  There are 51 wineries open to the public that are members of the Mornington Peninsula Vignerons Association.  That presents a lot of choice for visitors to the region; so in recent years they knew they needed to find a way to stand out amongst the crowd.  

Read the full Visitability Case Study PDF

Searching for the perfect ‘Sense of Welcome’

For some time, Crittenden Estate were mindful that for some visitors, a cellar door experience can be overwhelming and intimidating.  This began their search to determine how they could create a better sense of welcome and hence visitor experience for those coming to their cellar door. 

The decision was made to look at examples of good customer service, sense of welcome, engagement and industry benchmarks.  The research began with a trip to South Africa in 2013 by Garry Crittenden, Director of Crittenden Estate. 

Their strategic focus needed to be on the visitor experience first and foremost. So renovations were made to part of the old homestead on the property that used to be the Crittenden family home, to turn the space into a visitor focused wine tasting experience.

To pair with and extend their research and strategic planning, Crittenden Estate also engaged the use of Wine Business Solutions, a reputable wine industry consultant that could provide further advice around strategy, marketing and growth management.  Extensive planning was done to determine what the Visitor Experience would be from the moment guests walked into the cellar door.

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The Crittenden Estate Wine Centre is Established

In 2014 the Crittenden Estate Wine Centre was built and the visitor experience that had been carefully planned and thought through was delivered. 

Guests are now personally greeted as they entered the Wine Centre, “Welcome to Crittenden Estate…”.  

Throughout the tasting, staff engage with visitors as much as possible.  They will assist with the education about the wines, the estate’s winemaking philosophies and the region as a wine making destination.  Everything is focused around a sense of welcome and to help alleviate the roadblocks and fears that some people may have when it comes to wine.  If people are having a positive visitor experience, then not only does Crittenden Estate benefit, but the region as a whole. 

The next chapter

As they plan for the next chapter at the Crittenden Estate Wine Centre, their strategic focus will still be on providing a unique sense of welcome and visitor experience.  This will also be paired with their commitment to tourism excellence:

“Crittenden Estate Wine Centre generates an atmosphere, culture and experience far beyond that of a traditional cellar door.  We provide an attractive, informative and educational visitor experience. Beyond merely wine sales, our mission is for our wines to provide a conduit to an ongoing visitor relationship with Crittenden and the wider Mornington Peninsula region. Central to this is the encouragement of revisitation through the very first point of contact.”

Research, innovation and evaluation will continue to lead their plans for the next chapter of the Crittenden Estate Wine Centre experience, never forgetting their all-important Sense of Welcome.   

Read the complete case study here

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