HALLS GAP - Victoria's longest running food and wine festival, the 2014 Grampians Grape Escape, celebrated another successful event, attracting record crowds to Halls Gap for wine tasting, food sampling, live entertainment and kids entertainment, surrounded by the spectacular Grampians National Park.
Premier of Victoria, Dr Dennis Napthine officially opened the festival Saturday morning, before a tour of the festival to meet exhibitors, sampling of the region's renowned produce and a barrel of fun barefoot grape stomping.
"The festival had a great start with Friday night's Grampians Producers Dinner setting the scene for a weekend of exceptional food and wine" David Wheaton, the 2014 Festival Director said.
"Other highlights were the well attended cooking masterclases, wine appreciation panels hosted by comedienne, Rachel Berger and it was great to see kids flocking to the rock climbing wall and circus activities," he said.
Despite drizzly conditions at times, the sun broke through and shone down as Grape Escapees warmed up with Greenvale Farm's slow roasted pork shoulder, wood fired pizza and Indian curry and the region's famous wines and beer, as well as the warming lyrics of two-time ARIA Award winning Monique Brumby.
According to the chair of Grampians Wine Makers, Tom Guthrie with so many new and seasoned wine producers exhibiting at the Grampians Grape Escape, they were thrilled to see the high quality and great diversity of the region's wine showcased.
The inaugural carnival-style 'GGE After Dark' event on Saturday evening saw families and foodies rugged up to be awed by fire twirlers, an illuminated children's spectacle called Wonderland DreamBear and plenty of live music.
The date for the 2015 event will be May 2 and 3 and visitors are encouraged to lock that into their diaries.