THOSE who have already experienced the Henty Wine Region would know Hamilton offers quality food and wine.
But for some it remains a well-kept secret.
That is why Pierrepoint Estate owner Jennifer Lacey and Darriwill Farm Hamilton manager John Hedley have combined forces to promote the Hamilton region as a food and wine destination.
“I went into a newsagent the other day and bought a book on Victorian wine regions. Henty wasn’t even in it,” Mrs Lacey said.
“No one knows we are here. Geographically we’re huge but we’re small in numbers (of wineries).”
The Henty Wine Region takes in major centres including Portland, Warrnambool and Hamilton. There are 12 wineries, eight of which have cellar doors.
Mrs Lacey and husband Andrew moved from Melbourne to their Tarrington winery, just 10 minutes from Hamilton, in 1997 and have never looked back.
She said the chance to further promote the region was initially inspired while writing copy for a locally- developed tour guide.
“We discovered that there were amazing day trips that not only incorporate food and wine but other wonderful aspects of the region.”
Coincidentally, Pierrepoint Estate was offered the chance to host an event under Melbourne Wine Week after submitting its wines to the Royal Melbourne Show.
“I spoke to John about it and he thought it was a fantastic idea to do something in the vineyard. It was the first time an event has been held on a vineyard in this area,” Mrs Lacey said.
Mr Hedley provided picnic packs using gourmet produce from Darriwill Farm. The event was a success and consequently the pair are planning another event for February.
Mr Hedley, who has lived most of his life in the region, said his passion for food and wine was ingrained.
“In my later years I just started to think of the bigger picture and that is making Hamilton a food and wine destination,” he said.
Although the Hamilton region already had the quality on offer, Mr Hedley said marketing had been lacking in the past.
“We’re pretty much trying to market our area a lot better and collaborate with the food and wine businesses in town.”
Mrs Lacey said the local wine community was playing a part in promoting the region.
“We all send our wines out to be reviewed. Six wineries (of Henty) frequently submit wines to James Halliday — five submitted this year and four out of five received five stars and the other received 4.5. That’s the quality of wine we’re producing.”
She said tourists and locals enjoyed discovering wineries in the region, including Pierrepoint Estate.
“They love finding us because we’re off the beaten track. They go on this expedition and discover beautiful undulating country. Pierrepoint Road is very picturesque so they find this little gem of a stop.
“Our cellar door is very humble, but it’s real and I think that’s what people can relate to.”