What to do at Feast High Country Festival 2019

Published on April 26 2019.

Photo: Courtesy of Feast High Country

Every year, people flock to Victoria’s High Country for the explosion of autumn colour in the region. But there’s another reason to hit the road at this time of year. In fact, there are 50 reasons, thanks to the local event Feast High Country Festival and its stellar program for 2019. To help you navigate the many events on offer, we asked Gill Dobson of Feast High Country to give us her highlights.

Give us your top three picks from this year’s program.
This year we are rapt to welcome Scott Pickett to the High Country for a very special event. He’ll be teaming up with Simon Arkless and the team at Terrace Restaurant at All Saints Estate in Rutherglen for a four-course lunch with wine matches from siblings Angela, Eliza and Nick Brown.

Another highlight is the Fermentation Degustation at Bridge Road Brewers in Beechworth. Ben and Maria Kraus, owners of Bridge Road, certainly know a thing or two about fermenting. They’ll be teaming up with Michael Ryan of Provenance and Emma Handley of Templar Lodge who’ll create a four-course dinner celebrating the art of fermentation, which will be matched with some of the best local wines from A Rodda, Castagna and Sorrenberg, and of course Bridge Road’s sensational beers. The Mayday Hills range will be a perfect match.

A really fun one this year is the Winemaker Smackdown, happening in Rutherglen at James & Co Wines. Ricky James will go head to head with friend (or foe?) Rowly Milhinch of Scion Wines over four courses to let the crowd determine whose wine is better.

What’s new and exciting this year?
Templar Lodge has recently opened in a stunning spot in Tawonga, with spectacular views up to Mt Bogong. Emma Handley is at the helm creating stunning dishes with local produce, and for Feast High Country she’ll team up with sommelier Ben Edwards for a sensational five-course lunch with expertly matched wines. Not to be missed.

What event will be the ‘you should have been there’ moment of the program?
The Brown Brothers Grand Opening Dinner kicks off the event program and is definitely one of the hottest tickets in town. The Brown family will welcome guests to their historic barn (the very building where the first wines were made 130 years ago) for an indulgent five-course feast featuring local producers, of course complemented by Brown Brothers wines.

Also on that not-to-be-missed list is Feast High Country's Longest Lunch at the stunning Feathertop Winery in Porepunkah. Autumn is such a beautiful time in the alpine valleys, and the season’s produce will be celebrated with a spectacular long lunch and wines from Feathertop, Ringer Reef and beer from Bright Brewery. Absolutely Insta-worthy at this time of year!

What’s an absolute bargain?
Taminick Cellars in the small but mighty Glenrowan Wine Region is hosting a celebration to mark the 100th birthday of their signature shiraz vines. For just $20, guests to Aged Vines and Red Red Wine will feast on a local produce platter while comparing and contrasting aged and new shiraz varieties. A bargain and a guaranteed lovely afternoon out.

Give us your three most unusual events of the program.
The Tweed Ride in Rutherglen is a sight to behold! Just shy of 10 years young, this popular event sees participants dress up in their best threads of yesteryear and take a cycling tour featuring tasty stops at Stanton & Killeen wines, Wicked Virgin, Chambers Winery and more.

The Brewer’s Breakfast at Bridge Road Brewers brings beer to the breakfast table, and we’re OK with that. Learn the secrets of crafting award-winning beer and enjoy a four-course brekkie matched with beer. I’m not sure there’s a better way to start the day.

Another great night out is Hop Vs Grape. James Booth is a rare breed, being both winemaker and brewer, and he plans to pit his best brews and wines against each other over a feast created by Adam Pizzini from Rinaldo’s Casa Cucina. Wine buffs and beer lovers can broaden their respective horizons and taste the other side.

Is there an event that’s particularly close to your heart?
We’re really looking forward to the Twilight Apple Pick & Pie at Black Barn Farm up in Stanley. This absolutely stunning orchard grows some of the tastiest apples you’ll ever try, and they take it up a notch at this event with an apple pie-making lesson, warm apple cider, live music and apple cider doughnuts (it’s worth the trip just for these, we promise). 

Which event should people go to for hands-on fun?
You can’t go past Patrizia’s Harvest Forage. I think everyone wishes that Patrizia Simone was their nonna, and this is a great chance to experience her expertise and craft some delicious Italian dishes with locally-foraged produce. The best part? You can taste your hard work after class and dine with new friends. A perfect autumn afternoon with a culinary legend. 

Which event screams High Country?
The Baird family of Bogong Horseback Adventures are the real deal. High Country blood flows in their veins and they love sharing their passion for this incredible place. Their event Natural Highs on Horseback takes guests on a half-day horse ride in some of the country’s most spectacular scenery, followed by a long-table lunch at the Baird property.

Feast High Country Festival, 3-19 May, is on sale now. More information on the Feast High Country Festival website.