The Shiraz Republic has won Gold at the at the 2018 Riverina Murray Regional Tourism Awards held on Saturday 21st July in Deniliquin.

Winners in 14 categories were announced at the gala awards ceremony from finalists including tourism businesses, events, restaurants, wineries and accommodation providers. More than 130 industry representatives were in attendance to see who would take home the coveted awards.

As a category winner in the Regional Tourism Awards the Shiraz Republic will now gain entry into the Victorian Tourism Awards to be held in Melbourne later this year.

Regional Tourism Awards Chair, Jane Barnes, congratulated all winners and finalists on their contribution to regional tourism.

“Finalists in this year’s program were of a high calibre with a number of first-time entrants on the list. We are thrilled to recognise the best of the Riverina Murray tourism industry tonight and wish our winners the best of luck as they progress to compete against operators from the entire state,” said Ms. Barnes.

The Riverina Murray Region covers the area on both sides of the Murray river and extends from Mildura/Wentworth through to Albury/Wodonga. The Shiraz Republic won their award in a very competitive Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries category which recognises wineries, distilleries and breweries that offer a cellar door experience and create a significant contribution to tourism. Other entries in this category included Trentham Estate, Trentham Cliffs (Silver); Tumut River Brewing Co, Tumut (Bronze) and Fossey’s Gin, Mildura (Finalist).

Owner Manager Brian Spencer, in accepting the award, thanked his dedicated and visionary staff, family and customers who all contribute to continually improving the visitor experience. The Shiraz Republic is a genuine family run and owned farm, vineyard, winery and brewery, located near Colbinabbin in one of Australia’s premium wine regions, Heathcote. The Shiraz Republic concept allows our “vitizens” (citizens of the vine) to pursue their dream of a democracy of wine.

The judges’ comments are revealing, “What an impressive and comprehensive submission. Your submission was an absolute pleasure to read. … I can’t find ways to offer a lot more in the way of constructive feedback. This was an absolutely phenomenal submission. Keep doing what you’re doing! P.S. I wish I could have given you additional points for including Annie – thanks for the bonus puppy photos.”

The Cellar Door was established in 2010, first serving out of the winery, then moving into a new, modern rustic-style space in 2015.  Open every day it is unique for the region, with many cellar doors only open on weekends. Visitors are always welcome to drop in and this flexibility has seen visitor numbers grow to more than 4000 in 2017/18.  In 2016, the Cornella Real Brewery was established on site. This provides the Heathcote Wine Region with some much-needed diversity in available beverages and is a great addition to the cellar door offering for visitors – not everyone who visits a winery enjoys wine!

2018 has been a busy year with the further expansion the indoor and outdoor function spaces that allows for music and dining events, host weddings and other functions. 2018 has seen a new toilet block, with disability and accessible toilet, new ramp-free disability access has also been built and a new stage built around a 1964 Bedford truck. 2018 has also seen the Food Registration upgraded to allow food to be prepared and served. Light meals (e.g. pizza and toasties) are available seven days a week with additional options (e.g. roast and buffet) for functions and special events. VicRoads Tourism Signage has been installed on Heathcote-Rochester Road directing visitors to the Winery and Brewery.

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