Event organisers are celebrating the success of the 2017 Tastes of Rutherglen with local wineries run off their feet on the weekend as visitors flocked to the region.
The highly anticipated event is a must for lovers of fine food and wine, from novices to experts and anyone interested in the ultimate gourmet adventure.
Nineteen wineries pulled out all the stops to show off the north-east region’s celebrated wine and produce.
The event not only showcased Rutherglen's outstanding wines and food, it also provided event goers with the chance to peek behind the cellar door to learn about the history and hard work that goes into making the region’s world class wines.
Winemakers of Rutherglen Executive Officer Natalie Ajay told the Free Press that this year’s Taste of Rutherglen event was an enormous success.
“Online pre-sale tickets were up more than 30 percent year on year with many wineries exceeding expectations and selling more meals than ever this year,” she said.
“The regional and winery shuttle buses played a huge part in the two-day festival, with more than 1000 patrons using the service.
“The live music at many venues was a huge hit with young and old and the kids activities made the family-friendly festival a fantastic opportunity for all ages to enjoy the sunshine.”
Natalie said designated drivers, supported by the events major sponsor, TAC, were looked after at Tastes of Rutherglen with many safe drivers taking advantage of the free tea/coffee service.
“The Winemakers of Rutherglen would like to thank the TAC for their ongoing support of our festival and for helping to promote safe driving in our region,” she said.
“The Winemakers of Rutherglen would also like to thank Visit Victoria and Indigo Shire Council for their sponsorship of this festival.
“Final ticket numbers will be confirmed on Friday this week, but a rough estimate at this stage is that 2,500 people visited the festival over the two days, which is just fantastic.”
Local winery, Pfeiffer Wines said they were thrilled with the Tastes of Rutherglen weekend and enjoyed big crowds on both days.
Managing Partner Chris Pfeiffer said a succulent slow roasted lamb dish and a decadent chocolate ricotta tart, both prepared by the team at Rinaldo’s Casa Cucina and matched to two different Pfeiffer wines, proved very popular both days.
“The food and wine matching component has and always will be an extremely important aspect of the food and wine festival,” he said.
“The event provides a good opportunity for everyone to see how the winemaker works with the chef to come up with a delicious match.”
Paul Squires from Buller Wines said they were also celebrating the success of Tastes after a busy weekend at the Rutherglen winery.
“The event was fabulous, it was a really great weekend for all,” he said.
“Numbers really exceeded our expectations, especially at our Night on the Red, which we first expected crowds of 200 to 300 but on the night welcomed over 600.
“Our visitors danced the night away and we have received great feedback on the experience that we offered.”
Paul said the winery was already looking forward to further enhancing the experience at next year’s event.
“We have already held a debriefing and plans for next year’s event are well underway,” he said.
“We are really pleased with the feedback and hope to see our visitors return for another fantastic event next year.”