High hopes for holiday season

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High hopes for holiday season

Emerging from a quiet winter, Coonawarra is gearing up for a bustling season ahead, with the locals readying themselves for an event-packed few months approaching.

Coonawarra Vignerons executive officer Hugh Koch said visitation numbers at the end of autumn and through winter this year dropped back to what they were around a decade ago.

“There were a whole variety of reasons for that I’m sure, but we had some fantastic events that drove people back to Coonawarra such as Cellar Dwellers in July; if we did not run that event it would have been very quiet,” he said.

“We then moved to the Cabernet Celebrations, which started off quieter than normal, numbers were average, but they picked up towards the end of October as the weather got better.

“We were seeing a lot more people caravanning on the road, as we now go into December … it’s got particularly busy.

“And then there’s those wine visitors who are chasing wine, so we are really enjoying having those in region.

Up to Christmas, there’s some really good quality visitors that are coming through.”

Traditionally, the period spanning from Christmas to mid-January ushers in a flurry of activity in Coonawarra, attracting holidaymakers, especially those heading to coastal destinations such as Robe and Beachport.

“We run a couple of campaigns through that time to get people to come visit off the coast and see the wineries of Coonawarra,” Mr Koch said.

Mr Koch says it will only get busier from there for the Vignerons, with events in the New Year such as the Coonawarra Vignerons Cup, Australian Cabernet Symposium, Coonawarra Petanque Tournament, Coonawarra Fringe Festival, and Vintage Launch.

“The Fringe Festival will combine the wine and the arts, petanque is about the French origins of petanque and wine, and then we have the technical aspects of the symposium, so we have got different facets of the wine industry being showcased,” he said.

Mr Koch highlighted several reasons why people should take a drive to Coonawarra or make sure it was on their list to visit when they travel the Limestone Coast.

“Coonawarra is a very unique spot from which to grow grapes which produce the fabulous wine that we do.

You get to meet the people in the industry who are the heart and soul and tell you the story behind the wine,” he said.

“You can get up close and personal with all those people, you get the opportunity to taste wines you would not get to taste in bottle shops or restaurants, you can try the different variants of wine across Coonawarra as well.

“The vines are looking magnificent, it’s always a lovely time in Coonawarra, whether it’s rain, hail or shine, it’s a great time to visit.”

Coonawarra Vignerons president Daniel Redman expressed excitement about the upcoming months and encouraged people to come and visit the region.

“It’s a great time to visit the cellar doors through that Christmas to January period, and it’s an easy half-hour drive from Mount Gambier, Naracoorte or Millicent to come over here and spend a day,” he said.

“With the Vignerons Cup coming up that’s always a good day in January and keep an eye out for all the events and goings on throughout the wineries and Coonawarra throughout the New Year.”

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