THERE is nothing pretentious about Victoria’s longest-running wine festival — the Rutherglen Winery Walkabout.

While it might be because it’s hard to carry off an air of pomposity when you’re dressed as “Where’s Wally”, All Saints Estate chief executive Eliza Brown believes it is also because all participating wineries are run by local families.

“Rutherglen wineries are all family-owned and no other region can have that claim in Australia,” she said as she prepares for the 43rd running of the festival this weekend.

Ms Brown said the colourful festival, for which a large majority of the 15,500 participants wear fancy dress, contributes more than $2.5 million to the local economy each year.

Planning is a 12-month process for the organisers, The Winemakers of Rutherglen, and the wineries themselves start preparing months in advance organising rosters and building tasting bars.

“It contributes financially, but for the local winemakers and community, the greatest benefit is the ongoing loyalty and recognition of the region when people go home,” Ms Brown said.

“The word-of-mouth about our fabulous wine region is the most valuable result of the festival.”

Wine festivals are also being held in the King Valley and Heathcote this weekend.

Dale Webster, 2017

 

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Winery Walkabout is on the 10th & 11th June 2017. Have you gotten your tickets yet?