Organisers of the Shoalhaven Coast Winter Wine Festival have announced a major change to this year’s format as the countdown to the 15th annual long-weekend fiesta begins.
(min cost $8)
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Unlike previous years, the 2018 festival will be a ticketed event.
Previously attendees purchased a festival glass for $15 at one of the cellar doors on the tour, which gained them entry to all participating wineries.
“There will be no at the door purchases and that will allow us to work closely with council, police, the RMS, RSA officers and all the stakeholders to ensure the festival is safe and people are able to have a good time and importantly, a family friendly time,” Winter Wine Festival treasurer Raj Ray said.
Mr Ray said the festival had grown exponentially.
“The event has experienced extraordinary growth over the last 15 years, the first year it attracted 120 people and last year there was more than 10,000,” he said.
“With that growth comes additional regulations and compliance – for that reason, it is now a ticketed event.”
Mr Ray said numbers would also be capped after last year organisers were “caught on the hop” by the volume of attendees.
“It means each winery can invest in the event knowing there is going got be a certain number of people coming,” he said.
“Once you get to a certain level you don’t expect 20 to 30 percent growth each year.”
Following last year’s event, there were issues raised over car parking and access at a number of wineries.
The South Coast experienced rain in the lead-up to and on one of the days of the mostly outdoor festival, adding further to the chaotic scenes at some wineries, which were already under pressure from the huge number of visitors.
“The weather impacted and made it challenging,” Mr Ray said.
“We viewed it as an opportunity to invest in the festival.
“We are aware people may see this as a increase in price, but it hasn’t gone up in 13 years, and it’s all going back into the event.”
Prices for 2018:
Tickets will be available to purchase via their website in March 2018. No tickets will be sold on the day and entry will only be gained by ticket holders for each day.
Various events will be held throughout participating cellar doors including live music, long lunches, winemakers’ dinners, market stalls, art exhibitions, wine education talks, vineyard tours, barbecues and more.
Once again the Stuart’s Hop On Hop Off Bus tickets will also be available for purchase in addition to festival entry tickets.
The 2018 Shoalhaven Coast Winter Wine Festival runs from June 9 – 11.
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