From small beginnings to one of Victoria’s best regional wine festivals – Heathcote set for showcase milestone

Heathcote Wine and Food Festival will celebrate its 15th year when 45 wineries from across the region showcase their passionately-crafted fine and premium wines at the showgrounds this weekend.

The showcase of the region’s major industry will attract an expected 4000-plus people from across Victoria and interstate for one of Victoria’s signature regional wine events.

Many will be festival regulars who have become enthusiastic ambassadors for the Heathcote wine region renowned for its stunning shiraz releases and now carving an exciting reputation for Mediterranean-style reds and other varietals.

And joining them will be first-time visitors eager to experience a weekend in Shiraz Heaven, arriving on special buses from Melbourne and Bendigo and in groups of family and friends.

It’s their chance to be among the first to sample new release wines from the Heathcote region and learn more about wines that have recently achieved success in international and national awards as well as the 2016 Saint Martin Heathcote Wine Show.

The showgrounds will be transformed into a stunning family-friendly village setting in the days leading up to festival celebrations, a contrast to the first festival 15 years ago featuring a handful of wineries in the courtyard of a local restaurant.

The festival has grown with the wine region’s reputation. International awareness of the Heathcote brand owes as much to the modern pioneers of the industry in the region as it does to today’s winemakers and vignerons.

Heathcote Winegrowers’ Association members put many hours into planning and staging the major festival that boosts the local economy. Accommodation is often booked out a year in advance of the festival.

This year’s festival sub-committee is again headed by Phil Meehan who said the festival always created a wonderful atmosphere and predicted the 15th running of the event would be celebrated by a crowd “who simply love our part of Victoria and our wonderful wines”.

“Our Heathcote experience will certainly be celebrated at the 2016 festival.”

Tickets for the festival and tastings at 45 winery marquees start from $40.  Online bookings at www.heathcotewinegrowers.com.au