CHARDONNAY Lodge hasn't stayed closed for long.
The Coonawarra accommodation icon closed for business last month due to financial difficulties - but it is now likely to reopen soon under new management.
The unit owners were approached and unanimously agreed to have their units managed by Coonawarra Station Apartments - run by Penola Station restaurant owners Steve Moignard and Qin Shu.
Mr Moignard is confident the new model, cost structure and incentives will see a big turnaround in the accommodation/restaurant facility's fortunes.
"Granted, Coonawarra as a wine region does not receive the amount of advertising it used to receive," he conceded.
"But the bright side is that the Limestone Coast still receives 550,000 visitors per year and we are well placed to offer them an exceptional food, wine and accommodation experience."
The Penola Station team will provide catering for the units from its Church St restaurant with vouchers, special offers and in some cases transport for lunch and dinner with deluxe continental breakfasts delivered daily.
With sufficient demand/occupancy, room delivery food service on demand will also be provided as well as hot breakfasts.
In the short term, the function and restaurant facilities at the site will be used on an as needs basis by Coonawarra Station Apartments.
In the medium to longer term it is expected the restaurant will reopen in a full-time capacity.
The resort complex is substantial with 39 units, function centre, pool and manicured grounds.
Mr Moignard believes the apartment business dovetails well with his existing hospitality businesses, including the restaurant and a new caravan park due for completion in 2014.
"All the bookings go through the same office, all the marketing is centrally organised - they all complement each other," he said.
Aiming to be price competitive initially, Mr Moignard said the rates of the re-launched venture would be lower than previously offered.
"The average queen-bed motel-style accommodation price per night in Penola is really $140-$150," he said. "Coonawarra Station Apartments will do better than this - with spas and bells on!"
The new management will be offering excellent value opening specials for the whole of October.
For more information contact Mr Moignard on 0438 005 051.
For booking information and availability call Qin Shu on 8737 3350.
The re-launched venture will also create more jobs for local people.
"We are going to need to hire more staff for the kitchen, bus driving (with own bus), room cleaning, gardening, handyman and more," said Mr Moignard.