After nearly 20 years helping promote Bathurst's growing wine sector, Tony Hatch and Liz McFarland are set to call it a day at Vale Creek Wines.
The pair have sold the Cow Flat winery to new owners Gerard and Jacqueline Woods, with an upcoming food, wine and jazz event on Sunday, June 13 to be the last with Mr Hatch and Ms McFarland in charge.
Mr Hatch said the decision to move on from the winery was prompted by a few factors, including age, rigours of production and a desire to rest after many years of hard work on the land.
"I fractured a vertebrae around two years ago on the property while collecting firewood, which had me seriously begin to consider life after winemaking," he said.
"Winemaking is a very intensive business requiring plenty of physical and mental strength, and Liz and I have both reached the point where we're ready to pass the torch."
Since the first vines were planted in 2002, Mr Hatch and Ms McFarland have set out to promote Vale Creek as a local home for Italian wines, which are best enjoyed with food.
"The idea emerged from my days as a Qantas pilot, where I came across the popularity of Italian wines in not just Italy, but across all of Europe," Mr Hatch said.
"When we first got going, wine varieties such as Sangiovese, Dolcetto, Pinot Grigio and Barbera were uncommon around Bathurst, let alone pronounceable.
"Italians have always partnered wines with a nice meal, and from the get-go, we've strived to bring members of the Bathurst community together to showcase the appeal of a winery with a cellar door promoting food, music and togetherness."
Mr Hatch and Ms McFarland have been instrumental in growing appreciation for Bathurst's wine sector, highlighting its potential to foster regional tourism and identity.
"We're proud that our efforts, with the help of Mudgee food and wine identity Kim Currie, helped convince Bathurst Regional Council to serve local wine at all their events, and [former mayor] Gary Rush played a big role in supporting our cause," Mr Hatch said.
"As a winery, if you're trying to foster tourism, you need to be open at least every weekend, and its pleasing to see other local wineries, such as Renzaglia Wines, take advantage of an on-site cellar door."
While working the vineyards required a great deal of time and energy all year round, Mr Hatch said he has thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
"There's something therapeutic about making wine: the pruning, the vine training, the harvesting: it can be fun and agonising at the same time," he said.
"We've shared a lot of laughs in this cellar over the last few years, and we wish Gerard and Jacqueline well."
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