The Swan Valley is today raising a glass to Uber, with the introduction of the ride-sharing platform’s UberVINO service.
The service will allow the public to book a personalised tour of the region for up to four people through the pre-existing Uber mobile app.
The service costs a flat rate of $40 an hour and can be split between guests, but a minimum fare of $60 is required.
With tensions rife between Uber and the taxi industry, some are wondering whether the service will create problems for the Swan Valley tourism industry.
City of Swan mayor Mick Wainwright said he did not believe UberVINO would have a negative impact on the existing industry, because it was more of a niche service.
“I would see these more as being complementary to the bigger services and the tourist organisations that are already out there,” he said.
“I’m always pleased to see any sort of introduction of services into the Swan Valley – anyone that helps people get around and visit different venues safely, I’m really supportive of.”
UberVINO allows users to create their own itinerary, or to select one of several suggested tours.
Sandalford Wines chief executive Grant Brinklow said he welcomed Uber because one of the great things about the Swan Valley was its diversity of offerings.
“The thing that’s always struck me about the Swan Valley region is, unless you have a car, it’s hard to get around to see because the loop itself is about 32km,” he said.
“In the absence of a public transport service, people have to self-drive, and the trade-off is if you drive, you can’t experiment with all the wineries and micro-breweries, and all [the Swan Valley] is offering.”
Top Gun Tours director Matthew Attwood said people may not get the level of service they would expect from the Uber option.
“If you wanted an all included tour, as most people do, you want to go out and have a few tastings organised,” he said.
“One thing that they probably won’t know is UberVINO can’t just rock up to every venue and expect to be served because all the venues take bookings as well.”
Mr Brinklow suggested the Uber service may eventually become available around the Margaret River wine region.