Rick Lacey accepts the award for Most Successful Exhibitor from Bass Coast Shire Mayor, Cr Michael Whelan.


PEAK regional tourism body Destination Gippsland has accentuated the positive in its January Tourism Update, highlighting many of the region’s award-winning wineries and top eateries.

Coming up to the Australia Day Long Weekend and with plenty of fine weather ahead for a local drive holiday, you could do worse than seek out some of these taste-tingling destinations.

“We’re all frustrated and alarmed over the quick emergence of Omicron in December that has disrupted what was going to be a bumper summer in Gippsland,” said a spokesperson for DG.

“Initially visitor numbers were strong but with rising confirmed cases and close contacts isolating, we have seen the impacts on visitation, staff levels and supply chains across the region.

“We can only focus on what we can control and respond with marketing campaigns to encourage visitation,” they said, highlighting the best Gippsland has to offer.

And rising to the top in the Destination Gippsland promotion is the Rhyll-based vineyard and winery, Purple Hen Wines.

Winemaker Rick Lacey of Purple Hen made history at the 2021 Westpac Gippsland Wine Show in December when he took out of five of the top six trophies and awards.

The judging was held on November 29, 2021 at the stunning new Cape Paterson Surf Lifesaving Club with an Exhibitor Tasting and Awards celebration the following week, on December 8 at Phillip Island Winery’s stunning new function venue, The Atrium.

Purple Hen Wines won the following:

* Best Wine of Show (sponsor Westpac) – Purple Hen 2020 Shiraz

* Best Red Wine of Show (sponsor Mercurey Australia) – Purple Hen 2020 Shiraz

* Best White Wine of Show (sponsor Cardinia Shire) – Purple Hen 2020 Off Dry Riesling

* Best Wines of Provenance (sponsor Farmer’s Daughters) – Pinot Noir, 2014, 2016, 2019

* Most Successful Exhibitor (sponsor Bass Coast Shire) – Purple Hen Winery

* East Gippsland’s Rob and Tom Lightfoot of Lightfoot & Sons won the Chair of Judges Trophy (sponsor East Gippsland Shire) with their Lightfoot Myrtle Point Vineyard 2021 Chardonnay.

* Central Gippsland’s Alistair Hicks of Blue Gables Vineyard won the Stewards’ Trophy (sponsor Gippsland Lifestyle Magazine) with the Blue Gables 2019 Jesse Chardonnay.

Also recently, Destination Gippsland helped host Belinda Luksic of Delicious magazine on her trip around Gippsland, visiting as many fine eateries and local produce outlets as possible in South Gippsland and East Gippsland including:

* Hogget Kitchen, Warragul

* Loch Brewery & Distillery

* The Loch Grocer

* Prom Country Cheese, Moyarra

* Gurneys Cider, Foster-Fish Creek

* The Great Southern Rail Trail

* Gibson’s Larder, Fish Creek

* Meeniyan Square, Trulli, Moo’s at Meeniyan, Pandesal Bakery, Meeniyan Pantry & Cellar, Mika and Max and Ross Farm at Meeniyan

* The Long Paddock, Lindenow

Lightfoot & Sons, Calulu

* Sardine Cantina, Paynesville

* Sardine Dining, Paynesville

* Pier 70, Paynesville

* Raymond Island, Paynesville

* Captain’s Cove, Paynesville

* Sodafish, Lakes Entrance

The Phillip Island Winery was the ideal location for the Westpac Gippsland Wine Show in December 2021.