The Winemakers of Rutherglen – a collective of 19 wineries in North-East Victoria – have sought to delay any announcement on postponing or cancelling the upcoming 2020 Winery Walkabout festival (June 6 and 7) until after Easter.
Board members met last week to discuss the popular festival that sees thousands of wine-lovers converge on Rutherglen every year across the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
“With the current situation changing and evolving by the hour, the board has sought to delay any announcement of a postponement or cancellation of Winery Walkabout 2020 until the conclusion of the Easter period,” said Winemakers of Rutherglen Chairperson Chris Gillard.
Mr Gillard said that after much discussion at the meeting, the interim position was agreed upon.
“The current State of Emergency for Victoria has been imposed for an initial four-week period,” he said.
“During this time, the Winemakers of Rutherglen Executive Management team will develop a number of support action plans for each event scenario – postponing, cancellation or proceeding ahead.”
Action plans will be done in consultation with the full Winemakers of Rutherglen membership to get a better understanding on various winery positions and priorities.
“At the conclusion of this initial period of the Victorian State of Emergency, the Winemakers of Rutherglen Board will use the insights gained from both consultation with members and the Australian Government to determine the best course of action for Winery Walkabout 2020,” Mr Gillard said.
“At that time, we will still be approximately two months away from the scheduled Walkabout event dates. This timeframe is deemed as being a reasonable time period to then release further information regarding the events progress or planned changes.”
All 19 Rutherglen wineries are still open for business as usual to provide award-winning wines and fresh local produce for the North-East Victoria community and beyond.
The safety of visitors and winery staff at all Rutherglen wineries continues to be the Winemakers of Rutherglen’s top priority and will continue to keep the public updated on the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
The Winemakers of Rutherglen are continuing to work closely with all relevant authorities and wineries to monitor COVID-19 and are taking any necessary precautions to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all visitors, winemakers and winery staff.
In the wake of COVID-19, all Rutherglen wineries have implemented the following cleaning and hygiene initiatives:
On-site facilities at wineries to encourage people to wash and sanitise their hands upon arrival and departure.
Removal of all communal jugs at cellar doors and tasting benches.
New measures on maintaining a safe distance between people at cellar doors and tasting benches, including some wineries conducting tastings outside.
Increased cleaning of surfaces at cellar doors and around wineries.