HALLS GAP - Victoria's longest running food and wine festival, the Grampians Grape Escape, was officially opened on Saturday by Premier, Denis Napthine.
"The Grampians Grape Escape is one of Victoria's premier food and wine festivals," Dr Napthine said.
"The Grampians is Victoria's leading food and wine tourism destination, and the Victorian Coalition Government is proud to support tourism in the region by investing $50,000 to promote the festival.
"Events such as the Grampians Grape Escape raise the profile of the region as a premium food and wine destination, and promote Victoria's regions to local, intrastate and interstate tourists."
The festival, held annually in the first weekend of May since 1991, is part of a month-long celebration of food and wine events in the Grampians and surrounding regions.
This year's festival program featured the best of Western Victoria's wine and beer, gourmet food stalls, local musicians and artists, and wine making and appreciation seminars.
One hundred and twenty five exhibitors offered a wide range of local gourmet products, including wine and beer, meat products, cheese and other dairy products, nuts, and chocolate and sweets.
The festival also provided entertainment for families and children such as rock climbing, face painting, grape stomping and a number of street artists and roving performers.
"Tourism is a key to the Grampians' economy. The Grampians Grape Escape has grown to attract more than 9000 visitors last year and is expected to be attended by more than 10,000 people this year," Dr Napthine said.
Liberal candidate for Ripon, Louise Staley also attended the festival.
"This festival has a proud history and showcases our world-leading produce and wines to the world, as well as boosting tourism and promoting this great region," Ms Staley said.