A fine vintage is uncorked as Wine Festival's opening weekend draws good crowds

Orange turned on the fine weather and the crowds responded with big turnouts at the opening weekend of the 2017 Orange Wine Festival.

Organiser Charlotte Gundry said the festival got off to a great start when 340 people, up about 20 on last year, attended the Wine Show public tasting at the Hotel Canobolas on Friday night.

She said wineries holding events across the weekend also recorded good crowds.

“The weather has just been magnificent,” she said.

“Events were well attended.”

Philip Shaw Wines held its family day, Graze at the Grounds while Small Acres Cyder celebrated its birthday on Sunday.

The Borenore business is also running a sculpture event, Insider Outsider Sculptures, with the Corner Store Gallery in Summer Street East.

The gallery held the exhibition opening on Friday night.

Orange Region Vignerons Association president Justin Jarrett held a unique event at his winery, See Saw Wines where 50 people were taken on a bus trip to compare wines grown at different elevations.

Mr Jarrett said the Pilgrimage of Elevation, had worked well.

“It’s been a fantastic day,” he said.

“It was the first time we have done that.

“We wanted to put people in the vineyards.”

Mrs Gundry said there would be a range of masterclasses, winery lunches and smaller events this week leading up to next weekend’s major events.

They start with the Wine and Food Night Market in Robertson Park from 5.30pm-8.30pm.

“We’ve got a pretty good split of food and wine.”

She said the number of stalls had reached “a bit of threshold” and organisers did not want to add more than last year.

The big event, though sold out, is the Wines in the Vines, where people are taken by bus from the city to wineries.

“We have come from 160 people [last year] to 280 fairly easily with a long waiting list.

“Overall the signature events have been well received.”

The Vino Express, which brings people to Orange from Sydney, has been sold out this year.

It arrives on Friday around noon and returns on Sunday.

There will also be tastings and lunches at wineries next weekend.

Check out the details online at www.orangewinefestival.com.au