After Dark stomps into action

The 16th annual Coonawarra After Dark events kicked off last Friday evening, which saw hundreds of people flock to the Coonawarra to join in the vintage celebrations.

Established wineries DiGiorgio Family Wines, Zema Estate and Raidis Estate opened their doors over the weekend for people to indulge in great food and wine while enjoying the atmosphere.

First stop on Friday was DiGiorgio Family Wines, which was filled with family fun, plenty of wine and catering by Natural Born Grillers. DK’s Cruizin Coffee bought their coffee van and sold hot donuts which were a huge hit.

The 16th annual vintage stomp was a highlight of the night, with all 10 teams competing enthusiastically for a charity of their choice. Nutrien Naracoorte claimed first prize for the third year running along with $1000 for their charity Dollars for Tanks, Your Podiatrist was the runner up and third place was a crowd team of visitors.

Event organiser Katie Lewis said it was great to see visitors from near and far coming to Coonawarra. “Everyone was keen to be out and about, enjoying a glass of wine, something to eat and the atmosphere of the race,” she said. “Thank you to everyone who came along and made the effort to have a good time and enjoy the night out. “We’ll see everyone again next year.”

Next door, Zema Estate was busy serving up 400 of Mrs Zema’s traditional homemade pizzas under a fairy-light setting, along with live music which made the dance floor a hit. “It was fantastic,” Zema Estate’s Nick Zema said. “It was a really good, fun night.” Mr Zema said this was the first event at Zema Estate since COVID hit. “I think it just really shows people are keen to get out and about again and support local, which is good,” he said.

Mr Zema said his family had worked together to make the night a success and thanked everyone for supporting the event each year and said he was looking forward to next year’s event.

The night did not stop there. Many people kicked on at the Royal Oak Hotel, sipping a gin or espresso martini and enjoying the DJ music in the beer garden. Publican John Rymill said it was great to see the beer garden and both bars so busy with a good bunch of people enjoying the night.

“It was great to have such life in the pub, particularly after the COVID times, to have a place full of happy people,” Mr Rymill said. “And it’s great to have some visitors up from Mount Gambier. “It was a really enjoyable night. “We’re really pleased to have been a part of the After Dark celebrations and we’re so pleased that locals from the Limestone Coast were out supporting it.”

Zema Estate continued the festivities on Saturday with ‘The Morning After,’ where people got up close and personal with the sights, tastes and smells of vintage.

Raidis Estate hosted their event ‘Chris’ Charcoal Grill,’ with live music, Raidis Estate wines, beer and cider by The Side Project and a Greek charcoal grill.

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