ORANGE'S annual FOOD Week event - a 10-day celebration of local produce, food and wine - starts on Friday.
One of the newest additions to the program, and one of the most unusual, is the Blessing of the Harvest at Mortimers Winery on Burrendong Way at March, on April 10.
Peter Mortimer, of Mortimers of Orange Wines, said he and his wife Julie had decided to follow the European tradition of the blessing of the harvest after speaking with Rev Canon Frank Hetherington of Holy Trinity Anglican Church, who will officiate.
The service will be held on a hillside beside the vineyard in a specially erected marquee and will involve the breaking of bread and blessing of wine grown in the vineyard.
Everyone is then invited to crush their own bucket of pinot noir to start the winemaking process and return in 2006 to collect their two free bottles of wine. After the grape crushing there will be a feast of breads, pastries, pies and sweets on the lawns of the winery.
The non-denominational service starts at 11am with the harvest and crush at noon and feast at 1pm. Coach transport is available. Call 6365-8689 for details. Proceeds will be donated to the Holy Trinity Restoration Fund.