Helen and Joey Estate becomes a key attraction for local tourism thanks to the support from the State Government

Re'em accommodation with lake view. Picture: SUPPLIED

By Dongyun Kwon

Gruyere-based winery Helen and Joey Estate has become one of the Yarra Valley’s key attractions targeting more visitors and more jobs for locals with a recently completed brand new venue named Re’em.

The project was supported by the State Government with $3.5 million dollars through the Regional Tourism Investment Fund.

Helen and Joey Estate Business Development and Relationships Stephen Powell said it’s taken about six years from planning permission to completing the build.

“We’ve received funding approval in 2017 and there were a couple of stages to build,” he said.

“The first stage was actually building a new winery so that we could make all the wines that we have basically processed all the grapes that we produce on the farm.

“And then the next stages were the completion of the restaurant and the hotel which in the end, they were all completed together and opened on December the first [in 2023].”

Helen and Joey Estate is working on attracting its two main targets, international travellers and overnight visitors.

Mr Powell said there is a shortage of luxury accommodation in Yarra Valley and Helen and Joey Estate is positioned in it.

“Yarra Valley is one of the four most visited destinations in Victoria and it’s by far the largest wine winery destination in Australia, but there’s just been released a 10-year destination management plan, that has been sponsored by state governments and also by the local council, highlights the incredible number of visitors just doing day trip travel and one of the lowest rates of visitors staying overnight and spending two or three days in the region.”

Mr Powell said the two governments are interested in facilitating tourists to stay longer.

“Like day travellers, they might have an average spend per customer about $150, but if we can get them to stay in the region and have dinners, that increases to well in excess of $1,000 per customer,” he said.

“In terms of increased capacity, what we’re also doing now is focusing on eventually increasing midweek visitation rather than being so reliant on peak time.”

More than 80 jobs were created during the construction of the Re’em, with 100 new roles created now the estate is open.

Tourism, sport and major events minister Steve Dimopoulos said the expansion of Helen and Joey Estate would allow visitors to stay longer and explore everything this beautiful region has to offer.