OUR SAY: Take a sip, local wine is good for the economy

It sounds like a dream weekend.

Travel by train from Sydney to Orange for three days of tasting fine wine and fine food.

Join in the fun of the already sold out Wine in the Vines event, relax in quality accommodation for two nights and enjoy a behind the scenes winery tour before cruising home by rail again.

There is a catch, it costs a hefty $897 per person.

But the lure of Orange and the wine festival is such that 31 of the 40 tickets have already been sold.

And that’s well up on last year’s numbers.

Orange and its wineries have become entwined as a major magnet attracting people from Sydney, Canberra and elsewhere to visit the region.

Ticket sales for many events at next month’s Orange Wine Festival are also well above last year’s figures suggesting it is going to be a hit.

Wine in the Vines is not the only sold out event even though the festival doesn’t start for three weeks.

Two long lunches at key wineries are already full up.

President of the Orange Region Vignerons Assocation, Justin Jarrett, [pictured] said the wine train and several other events were complementing Orange’s position at the quality end of the wine market.

“Our cost production in Orange is high,” he said.

“And the quality of wine is high.

“Orange will never be in the $10 and below market.

“Orange is in the $20 and above market.”

At that end of the market the organisers need to put on a festival based on quality.

From the tastings to long lunches to the masterclasses the festival needs to present itself as having class.

But it also needs to be accessible.

That’s why events like the Night Markets in Robertson Park work well every year.

You can try the same fine wine available at premium events while sauntering around in your jeans and thongs in a park in the middle of town – at a fraction of the cost.

This year there will be about 50 stalls with wine and food on Friday October 20.

A week earlier is the Orange Wine Show tasting evening which has moved from the agricultural pavilion at the showground to the Canobolas Hotel ballroom.

And that is why when Orange is talked about as being a cool climate region it is also cool for other reasons.