Orange Railway Station was packed with travellers and visitors on Friday afternoon as the Vino Express pulled into town.
The daily XPT service included an extra carriage packed with 41 people keen to explore the Orange wine region.
A curated experience including the night markets, winery tours and Wine in the Vines awaits the travellers, and they were treated to a masterclass on sparkling wine by Printhie Wines’ director Ed Swift on the journey.
VIDEO: The Vino Express arrives in Orange for the Orange Wine Festival 2017.
“We didn’t know Orange was great for sparkling wine or chardonnay,” Sydney’s Vicki Waugh said.
“Ed Swift was very informative, entertaining and knowledgeable.
“From what we learned, we could be in the Champagne region in France. We’re very impressed.”
It’s not the first time Mrs Waugh and her husband Philip have visited Orange but it is their first time on the Vino Express.
“It did seem a bit old-fashioned but we’re pleased with how it went, it’s like we’ve been on an luxury experience,” Mrs Waugh said.
Mr Swift said it was the first time he had run a wine tasting on a train but it was about putting the region’s best foot forward.
He brought the Swift Sparkling Cuvee, Rosé, 2011 Vintage and 2010 Blanc de Blans for guests to taste and learn about.
“We’re finding people are delving deeper and further into regions looking for that hidden gem,” Mr Swift said.
VIDEO: Wollongong’s Mike Ford and Mal Cox talk about the Vino Express.
The first Vino Express last year brought 25 people to Orange and this year, 41 made the trek.
Orange Regional Tourism’s interim executive officer Justin Byrne said the two packed trains during FOOD Week and the Wine Festival showed promise.
“Getting people out of Sydney on a package is the key to this,” Mr Byrne said.
“The FOOD Train and Vino Express are examples of where the region can go.”
He said the fully-escorted tour meant people could relax and spend time enjoying their weekend.
Mr Byrne said he would like to see the packages developed to appeal to international visitors and the success of the two festival trains showed they could run beyond large events.
“There’s so much more than just food and wine, it could easily expand to our gold rush history or the region more broadly.”