Assessing the future of the National Wine Centre

With increasing competition from other tourism and hospitality venues and a decline in profitability, The University of Adelaide wanted to assess the viability and strategic value of the National Wine Centre, a food and wine destination and platform for viticulture education and research.

Who, what, where

University of Adelaide, a world-class university and the third oldest university in Australia located in Adelaide, South Australia, was granted a lease to operate the National Wine Centre, a public tourism and hospitality venue and education facility dedicated to wine and winemaking also located in Adelaide, in 2003.

The challenge

Competition for tourists from other local destinations, such as the Adelaide Oval, the Adelaide Convention Centre and cellar doors, and an unclear alignment with the University’s core business of teaching and research had brought into question the value of the National Wine Centre to the University of Adelaide.

Bentleys’ support

Bentleys was appointed to conduct a review to evaluate the commercial and strategic relevance of the National Wine Centre and the benefits of its continued management by the University, with particular focus on its management structure, governance model, strategies and business plans.

Qualitative research was conducted via interviews with key stakeholders, including from the University, the Tourism Commission, the Government of South Australia and other bodies, to understand how the Centre was viewed internally and externally.

Analysis was performed to measure the Centre’s cost efficiency, how it was priced against key competitors, its positioning in the market and an assessment of future performance and revenue generation potential.

A robust report with tangible recommendations was provided by Bentleys to the University to boost the strategic value and profitability of the Centre.

The outcome

The University adopted the report and recommendations, prompting the National Wine Centre to consider its cost structure and strategic direction, as proposed by Bentleys.  More stringent cost management has resulted in the National Wine Centre achieving a profitable and stable year, with performance forecasted to increase further in the year ahead.

  • An adjusted business strategy is set to improve the integration of the Centre’s education and research value for the University
  • A re-evaluation of marketing initiatives is expected to engage stakeholders, including tourists and the University’s management, while improving external perceptions and use of the Centre
  • Aligning the Board with a reinvigorated strategic plan will ensure the Centre is commercially oriented with links to the University and to the wine and hospitality industry.



Bentleys is a valued partner, delivering outcomes for The University of Adelaide. They challenged us to extract more value from the National Wine Centre and provided pragmatic recommendations.

Bruce Lines, Chief Operating Officer The University of Adelaide

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