Heathcote Wine & Food Festival 2018

Whilst at a recent festival in Heathcote I was drawn to the quality of Australian wines and the outstanding knowledge of the wine makers, their interaction with not only their marketing streams but also the consumer is good and these wine makers care about what they create and how.

At the festival I interviewed a selection of winemakers and obtained their take on what is happening in the wine industry and what direction they will be taking next.

The winemakers I talked to were: Daniel Hopkins from Tellurian and Graeme Quigley from Peregrine Ridge.

To kick off my two day experience at the festival I attended a seminar chaired by Rob Hicks of Grape Expectations (the wine and food programme) which he presents on Melbourne radio. The tasting seminar focused on the Heathcote Story, Rob explored the exciting mediterranean varieties  being produced.



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Rob Hicks talking at the Heathcote Food & Wine Festival 2018

Rob Hicks talks about wine excellence: Click on the audio link to listen:  

One wine maker I was very keen to talk to was Tellurian as I had tried a few of their wines at a tasting in Melbourne prior to this festival and to say I was impressed doesn’t come close. I was able to meet with Daniel Hopkins, Principal of Tellurian Wines who discussed some interesting points from their transition to organic certification which should be obtained this year to timelines of production of their wines to hitting the market, to their output and export . Click on the audio link to listen:

Daniel Hopkins, Principal, Tellurian Wines
Daniel Hopkins, Principal, Tellurian Wines

Graeme Quigley owner, winemaker and viticulturist of Peregrine Ridge won ‘Battle of the vines’ whilst at the Festival and post the competition I was able to taste the winning wine of his 2015 limited release which was outstanding. This likeable Irish man has been involved with the festival since 2007. We talked of different wineries in the Clare Valley that have inspired him. His growing, pruning and viticultural techniques are included within this interesting interview.

Graeme Quigley, Peregrine Ridge
Graeme Quigley, Owner, Peregrine Ridge

Click on the audio link to listen:

The food side of the festival had everything from interesting salami’s, Greek, Vietnamese, Puds, Spanish, Barbecue, to Italian and exciting flavours of Gelato. One item I loved was the Oakwood Sausages that are Gluten free , made from free range pork using traditional methods of old fashioned wood fired smoke houses. It was well worth getting a little messy eating this as the flavour was out of this world.

Ralph with one of his flavourful hotdogs with the very special sauce.


Top tips:

The festival runs in October each year. I highly recommend staying in Bendigo and commuting into Heathcote as Bendigo is a buzzy town with lots of wine bars and restaurants and some good offerings for short stays.

Festival entry for the weekend: $65pp

Seminars: These need to be booked ahead of time. The Heathcote Story @ $90pp book on the http://www.trybooking.com website.

Transport: The festival runs a bus service @ $26pp return from Bendigo. Whilst I don’t endorse drinking and driving if you have a designated driver it is easier to have your own vehicle to load in the many cases of wine you will buy at the festival. Remember to take a trolley with you as those cases of wines can really hurt your back. (Also, we arrived from Melbourne in time for the bus –but couldn’t find the bus stop so missed it) — no refund offered so a good lesson learned! The second day we had also purchased bus tickets through http://www.trybooking.com website but they weren’t needed as it is easier to return to Melbourne directly from the festival.

Hotels: Allawah Bendigo, 45 View Street, Bendigo. I use booking.com which supplies competitive rates and shows availability easily.

Places to eat: The Wine Bank is excellent (reservations essential) for dinner and opposite so very convenient. For breakfast I highly recommend a superb French inspired cafe with excellent presentation called The Basement in the Capitol Theatre Building : Check out the pics below:

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