SHOALHAVEN vineyards have received a boost with the state government providing $10,000 to promote the Shoalhaven Coast Winter Wine Festival.
The funding has been allocated under the NSW government’s Regional Flagship Events Program, with Kiama MP Gareth Ward presenting the funding to president of the Shoalhaven Coast Wine Industry Association Barry Starkey at Mountain Ridge Wines at Coolangatta.
The Shoalhaven Coast Winter Wine Festival will be held on June 7-9 at cellar door outlets of the 12 participating Shoalhaven Coast vineyards.
Mr Starkey accepted the funding in front of a number of fellow local vineyard operators, saying it would be used to promote this year’s festival.
“The Shoalhaven Coast Winter Wine Festival is a great event, not only for us as vineyard owners but the local community as a whole,” he said.
“It attracts a number of people to the local area over the June long weekend.
“Last year we had 1100 cars alone come into our winery on the Saturday and Sunday of the event.
“And it is that sort of support that helps us to survive.”
Mr Starkey said the $10,000 funding would be used to help promote the Shoalhaven Coast Winter Wine Festival in regions outside the Shoalhaven like Canberra, Sydney and Wollongong.
Mr Ward said local vineyards were establishing a fine reputation for producing quality wines.
“It is also an industry that provides a lot of local employment.”
The Shoalhaven Coast Wine Region and Shoalhaven Coast Wine Industry Association includes both Shoalhaven and Kiama local government areas running from Kiama in the north to Bawley Point in the south including Kangaroo Valley to the west.
WITH harvest just weeks away, local vineyards are expecting a bumper season.
President of the Shoalhaven Coast Wine Industry Association Barry Starkey of Mountain Ridge Wines at Coolangatta said all local vineyards were looking forward to a great harvest.
“It has been a fantastic season so far, we just now need to get through to the end of the month when we will start harvesting,” he said.
“It has been a dry season and not too much wind. The growing conditions have been perfect.”
Ben Wallis of Coolangatta Estate said he agreed.
“It is all shaping up well. We have been blessed with the weather but I’ll be a lot happier when we have some of the harvest in the bags,” he said.
“So far everything has fallen into place, we had an early bud burst, a warm spring and got rain at the right times when we needed it.
“There has been lots of varying weather around the state and some other wine regions haven’t been as lucky as we have so far been.
“But locally everything is on track for a good year and we hope to get our harvest under way in about two weeks.”
Godwin Felice of Crooked River Winery is also reporting a bumper crop.
“Spring has been brilliant and it is looking like a good season,” he said.
However he said work on the upgrade of the Princes Highway between Mount Pleasant and Toolijooa Road, which runs past his business, had badly affected trade.