Wineries prepared for COVID restrictions

The Coonawarra Cellar Dwellers festival has reached the halfway mark with another successful weekend despite changes due to the imposed COVID restrictions. Coonawarra Vignerons marketing and events coordinator Heidi Eldridge said the wineries were more prepared for restrictions this year and said the cellar doors were doing a great job adapting.

“The intimate nature of Coonawarra’s experiences means that it’s a lot more manageable and we can make it as comfortable as possible without huge disarray around making alternate plans,” Ms Eldridge said. “While the cellar doors are busy, it’s still a very laid back and easy-going environment.”

Ms Eldridge said there were terrific responses from the cellar doors and people were using the Cellar Dwellers passport to visit five wineries and go in the running to win a mixed half-dozen of Coonawarra wine valued at over $200. Ms Eldridge said although Victorian visitors comprised a huge portion of the numbers coming through, there was great support from South Australians.

“I think despite the fact there is that lingering risk around us, the uptake has been really good and visitation has been sensational, cellar doors have been great,” she said. “We’ll be keeping a real keen eye out on how the restrictions change or modify or impact those events going forward.”

The weekend’s wintry weather made The Blok Coonawarra cellar door the perfect place to settle in and get cosy with a cuppa at their traditional High Tea. Ann Trotter cooked up a feast of homemade savouries, sweets and scones served with her famous homemade Cabernet jam for attendees to enjoy. Included in the ticket cost was a glass of current release wine and a pot of tea to enjoy from vintage china.

The Blok Coonawarra’s Rebecca Trotter said everything was going fantastic with Cellar Dwellers so far and they held sold-out High Tea sessions. “The High Tea has always been quite popular, which is nice,” Ms Trotter said. “I think all the homemade food is quite appealing to everybody.”

Ms Trotter said the border closures affected their High Tea booking numbers slightly and said one of the biggest losses was the accommodation cancellations. “It’s definitely been a bit quieter in the cellar door, unfortunately,” she said. “But you do not want to complain about the border closures because we’re not in lockdown, we fully appreciate that we’re in a good position.”

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