5 January 2024

New way to explore wineries 'a bit of a winner' for Yass Valley and visitors alike

| Claire Sams
two people on a picnic with a charcuterie board and wine

Andi Nissen says exploring Murrumbateman’s famed wineries by bike brings benefits to all involved. Photo: AH Imagery.

For Andi Nissen, the idea behind her business came about almost by accident.

“We happened to be riding some bikes in another area and visited some wineries and we thought that it was something we should explore around Murrumbateman,” she says.

“We started looking into it as a business idea, and that’s when we actually heard that Yass Valley Council had received a grant to put a trail in.

“It was just a happy coincidence.”

Now, Ms Nissen owns Canberra Wine Region E-Bike Tours, which offers electric bikes for hire so people can take self-guided tours through the Murrumbateman Winery Trail.

“My husband and I both have hospitality backgrounds and even though we work in the public sector like a lot of people in the area, we’ve always enjoyed working with people.

“Doing this on the side gives us that connection with tourism and travel that we’ve always really enjoyed but we don’t get in our normal jobs.”

The Murrumbateman Winery Trail is a 14 km trail passing by eight of the region’s wineries, giving attendees a chance to see what the region has to offer.

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A tour starts with participants booking in for their tour of choice, including options for full or half-day tours.

“We also have fully inclusive packages which take a little bit more of what is off the Winery Trail and some of Murrumbateman’s other offerings,” she said.

Ms Nissen said the past few years saw a quick uptake.

“We thought we were on a bit of a winner when we came up with the business plan and we invested in our first lot of bikes – then COVID hit within months,” she says.

“The business still went strong and we had to buy more bikes and the business continued to build.

“Even when other tour operators perhaps couldn’t function because they had people in confined spaces in cars, people can ride on bikes and the wineries were really creative with the way they presented tastings.

“Since then, with everything opening back up, we’ve just continued to grow.”

Ms Nissen said the goal of the tours is to bring the wider Yass Valley community together.

“We are very passionate about the area,” she said.

“Since we started the business, it’s given us a stronger connection to the community, the growers and other businesses.

“There’s a lot of like-minded, enthusiastic people in the area, and it’s been really good to connect with them.”

Everything is supplied – including the helmet, maps and a blanket – though Ms Nissen recommends bringing a coat and some gloves to ward off the chill in the colder months.

“Murrumbateman is absolutely stunning,” she said.

“We’re really quite proud of what is in Murrumbateman and the quality of the wines in the cellar doors.

“It’s a really lovely feeling to be able to share that with the broader community.”

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Moving into the summer months, Ms Nissen said there was interest from people from Sydney or overseas who were looking to explore the Yass Valley.

“There’s so much demand for them despite the fact it’s a weather-dependent activity!”

After their tour, the participants can keep fond memories, some photos and maybe some food and wine – but for Ms Nissen, there is a different takeaway.

“For us, it’s all about helping people create experiences and memories,” she said.

“Knowing that we are giving people the means to make some memories and great experiences is really special for us.”

Canberra Wine Region E-Bike Tours can be reached by calling 0490 045 432 or by e-mailing [email protected].

Further information on the Murrumbateman Winery Trail can be found online.

Original Article published by Claire Sams on Riotact.

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