Our say | Cheers to a wine industry worth bottling

ANOTHER successful National Cool Climate Wine Show is opportunity for us to reflect on the local wine industry – what it is and what it could never be.

Winning the rights to host the wine show back in 1999 was a major coup for the Bathurst Regional Vignerons Association and has been the mainstay of their operations in almost two decades since.

The local wine industry cannot match Orange or Mudgee for sheer number of producers, but the vignerons association punches well above its weight in terms of industry recognition and reputation.

The National Cool Climate Wine Show exists to benefit, promote and provide world-class feedback for Australia’s cool climate wine growers and is now the largest inland wine event inland outside of the capital cities, with growing support every year.

And if the wine show is the Bathurst Regional Vignerons Association’s greatest contribution to the state’s wine industry, then we should be happy with that.

But just because the Bathurst wine industry will never be a major player (in tourist visitor terms) on a state or regional level, we should not discount the enormous role it has to play on a local level.

The branding of Bathurst has been a major talking point in recent weeks, along with discussion about how we would like Bathurst to be perceived by those who do not live here.

The undeniable truth is that Mount Panorama and motor racing will always remain the first things that come to people’s minds when someone mention Bathurst and that needs to be the starting point for any discussion of branding. But it’s far from the final point.

If Mount Panorama is the magnet that lures thousands of people to our city this year then it has to be attractions like a small but quality wine industry that offer reasons to stay.

Then there are the unique museums (Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum, the Chifley Home), an art gallery that showcases exhibitions rarely seen outside of the major centres and a raft of other sporting, cultural and community assets that provide real diversity.

And for one week each year, the National Cool Climate Wine Show is the biggest show in town.

It may be over for another year but we look forward to welcoming it – and everyone that comes with it – back in 2018.