ONE of the most hotly-anticipated events on the country race meeting calendar – the 2018 Coonawarra Vignerons Cup – was launched at Balnaves of Coonawarra on Friday night.
Boasting a full day of racing, fabulous food, fundraising and fantastic Coonawarra wines, the event attracts around 3000 visitors to the Penola Racecourse each year.
On a balmy spring night at the picturesque cellar door, wine flowed and toasts were made to volunteers and sponsors as the 2018 cup was unveiled.
Coonawarra Grape and Wine Incorporated (CGWI) president Pete Balnaves welcomed around 30 invited guests.
He acknowledged it had been a difficult week for many locals following the passing of long-serving winemaker Wayne Stehbens and prominent artist Robert Miles.
“This has been a difficult week in a lot of ways and I know many of us are dealing with that, but it is a pleasure to have you all here this afternoon and be in your company,” Mr Balnaves said.
“This will be the 36th running of the Coonawarra Vignerons Cup and we are very lucky to have an active membership.
“The cup committee works very hard and without their volunteer commitments this event would never get off the ground.
“We started out in a very small tent with sandwiches melting in the heat – we have come a long way.”
Coonawarra Vignerons Cup Committee chair Tim Bailey said tickets for the 2018 event were selling fast.
“Tickets went on sale today and we can advise that 250 members tickets have already sold to 13 members,” he announced.
“Our 2018 sponsors have now been confirmed and we thank each one of those organisations for their partnership.”
He said a cellar door cup schedule will be released online this week.
“This is the first location of many cellar doors the cup will visit between now and the big day on January 18,” Mr Bailey said.
“We will have a rotation this year so the cup will see every cellar door in Coonawarra to give everyone an opportunity to see it up close.
“I want to thank the Penola Racing Club, our cup committee and members for supporting this event – we want to make this one our best yet.”
The 36th annual Coonawarra Vignerons Cup will be run at the Penola Racecourse on January 18.
Visit www.coonawarra.org/events for public tickets and more information.