An estimated 2300 people from Melbourne and regional Victoria flocked to Heathcote's showgrounds on Saturday.By Barbara Sungaila
Organisers have hailed the 12th Heathcote Wine and Food Festival a resounding success.
An estimated 2300 people from Melbourne and regional Victoria flocked to the showgrounds on Saturday, with more than another 1200 on Sunday — to taste some of the region’s best wine and food.
Heathcote Winegrowers Association executive officer Henry Screen said it was the best Saturday crowd in five years.
Sunny weather helped create a welcoming atmosphere, with temperatures reaching the mid twenties on Saturday.
Sunday was cooler but still fine.
Ali Cameron from Melbourne, who was with her sister Heather di Pietro, said this was the fourth time they had been to the festival.
‘‘It was so cold last year,’’ she said.
‘‘But we love it; it’s such a fun day.’’
It was also Jackie Truong from South Yarra’s fourth festival and this year she brought her cousin Hue Nguyen from Hawthorn with her for the first time.
Many attendees said the festival was now an annual pilgrimage which they looked forward to all year.
Heathcote Winegrowers’ Association president Phil Meehan said crowd numbers were fantastic.
Speaking mid-Saturday afternoon, he said he had not managed to step out from behind the Meehan Vineyard counter since the festival gates opened that morning.
‘‘And we’ve been three, four, deep all day,’’ he said.
All the wineries experienced a strong interest in their range.
Sanguine Estate winemaker Mark Hunter said they had a busy weekend with good crowds on both days.
‘‘It’s normally a lot quieter on Sunday,’’ he said.
‘‘But it was crazy Saturday.’’
Food vendors also did a roaring trade.
One of Saturday’s longest queues, courtesy of the warm weather, was for Timboon Ice Cream — and several younger festival visitors were seen with the evidence of blissful consumption smeared across their faces.
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