IT’S on again, for young and old.
Heathcote will once again be on show and organisers are expecting crowds to flock to the region for the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
The wine, food and fun festival is rightly established as one of Victoria’s most popular festivals and local wineries and traders are at-the-ready to show off their wares.
And as with past festivals it’s about more than just the Shiraz.
Heathcote Tourism and Development president Peter Maine said the range of wineries, restaurants, pubs, breweries and natural attractions is sure to draw people in.
“We’re expecting more than 7000 people to come to the Heathcote region over the three days and we want to show what an attractive location it is,” he said.
“It’s about giving them something which is uniquely Heathcote and we shouldn’t shy away from that.”
On show are award-winning artisan winemakers, a new craft brewery, recreational attractions and lots of entertainment for children of all ages.
Award-winning cellar doors, wineries, cheese and wine-matching and wine-making master classes, a wine glass experience, vertical tastings, a pop-up cellar door in High St and plenty of live music head the bill.
“People need to have a unique experience and we’re seeing that through the cellar doors in the area,” Mr Maine said.
“They have a point of difference because 99 per cent of the time the person who is on the other side serving you the tastings is the one who has been working to grow the grapes and make the wine.”
Mr Maine said it’s all about providing the experience rather than just delivering the product.
“We’re looking at the event more holistically, however there’s no doubt Heathcote rides on the back of Shiraz,” he said.
“But if you look now at the diversity and variety that wineries are creating, it’s not just about the Shiraz.
“For any destination to be a tourist destination there’s a number of boxes you need to tick, going to cellar doors is a given in the region and people are looking for experiences.”
And it’s experiences they’ll get.
Festival attractions include the return of Poppy Cherry’s Burlesque De Vine, a sassy burlesque dinner show at Silver Spoon Estate and the Heathcote Supper Club’s film night screening of the acclaimed documentary The Somm.
It follows the attempts of four candidates to pass the extremely difficult Master Sommelier examination, a test with one of the lowest pass rates in the world.
Then there’s Munari Wines’ weekend of wine and music and the High St Wine Festival with its market stalls, vintage tractors, musicians, entertainment and an animal farm for the kids.
A regular hop-on hop-off shuttle bus will run from the Heathcote Visitor Information Centre to wineries and cellar doors on Saturday and Sunday.
For more information visit heathcoteonshow.com.au