Casley Mount Hutton Winery's Grant Casley at the Food and Wine Fiesta over the weekend.
Casley Mount Hutton Winery's Grant Casley at the Food and Wine Fiesta over the weekend.

Wineries lap up boost from festival fiesta

WINERIES have been run off their feet with the Apple and Grape Festival providing just the shot in the arm they needed.

Tourists from across the country made their way to the Granite Belt across the festival’s 10 day duration and didn’t pass up a chance to visit some award-winning wineries.

“It was a very busy weekend from what I can make out across the board,” Ridgemill Estate owner Martin Cooper said.

“All of the wineries and accommodation were flat out which is excellent.

“The weather was kind too,” he said.

Mr Cooper, not only a winery operator, also doubles as the president of Granite Belt Wine Tourism.

He praised the festival organisers and said the Food and Wine Fiesta across Friday to Sunday gave wineries a perfect chance to showcase their product.

“It was very much the shot in the arm we needed.

“Would have been easy to get trapped into thinking everyone was at the festival but the cellar door was very busy too.

“It’s absolutely what our industry needed.

“It was a struggle at the fiesta to keep up with the ice requirement trying to keep the wine chilled.

“Bottles were selling thick and fast.”

Mr Cooper’s comments were echoed by Casley Mount Hutton Winery’s Grant Casley.

“It was a really good carnival. We’ve had a tough couple years but this was just what we needed,” Mr Casley said.

While the festival was a boost, back in the vineyards, not everything has returned to normal.

“We had our first pick last week and normally we’d be getting three to three and a half tonnes … but we only picked 300 kilograms,” Mr Cooper said.

“That’s the impact the drought is still having.

“But onwards and upwards.”

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