EXPERIENCE THIS // Wine Harvest Feast
This is a FOMO alert, people! We've been lucky enough to attend the annual Wine Harvest Feast, and can we just say there is NOTHING more Highlands than a loooong lunch sipping delicious wine and eating amazing food on a beautifully styled table in amongst the vines of Far Ago Hill during wine harvest season, right?
Before you crack on and read about all the fabulousness we experienced, now is a good time to share that super talented chef, Nick Gardner of Hampden Deli and Tetsuya’s fame is at the helm, creating a no doubt, incredible menu using seasonal and local produce.
Oh, and this will be the last year you have the chance to get amongst it at this gorgeous private vineyard – Wine Harvest Feast is moving in 2021.
Now, read on to hear about (and get a little jelly) about our experience……
Our day begins as we are collected by a private car and off we head to Canyonleigh, and a boutique vineyard called Far Ago Hill, the location of our harvest celebrations and where our Wine Harvest Feast host, Amanda, awaits our arrival with free-flowing Pinot Gris and platters of delectable hors d'oeuvres.
We arrive. We drink. We mingle. We nibble. So far, so very, very good.
As our glasses become empty and the sun signals midday, our host leads us along a winding track, down towards the rows and rows of lush green vines we have been admiring from above. In front of us, suspended between vines, is a big, old timber door. Just chillin’ like a villain amongst the grapes. Right here is when we have our first of many Alice in Wonderland moments.
We step through the hovering door and – WOW. We are blown away by what we find. Perfectly positioned, smack bang between two rows of vines, is an elegantly set, twenty-metre long dining table under the shade of large, white sun umbrellas and sprinkled with centrepieces worthy of any fine-dining establishment.
We choose our seats and, for the next three hours, enjoy dish after dish, wine after wine of absolutely impeccable quality. The ‘long lunch’ setting allows us to pass shared platters up and down the table. Cheeses and cured meats. Scrumptious salads and the freshest seafood. Crusty breads and mouth-watering mains. Fruits and desserts. And wine. Much delicious wine. Live music playing. Sun shining. Lively conversation and raucous laughter surrounds us.
It’s a Mad Hatters tea party. That's the best way we can describe it. The real world we left behind this morning feels light years away and yet we couldn’t be closer to Mother Nature. Her rich, fertile soil at our feet and sun at our backs.
During the meal we hear from Katrina Hill, owner of Far Ago Hill. We sample shiraz grapes (they taste like regular red grapes!) and get a sense of life as a woman on the land. Restaurants such as Birch choose to offer Far Ago Hill wines on their menus. That alone speaks volumes. It is stupendously good. Check it out.
Somewhere between the smoked salmon and coconut panna cotta (honestly, the timeframe thing is a bit of a blur…) we are properly introduced to Amanda Fry, our Wine Harvest Feast host and owner/operator of Highland Harvest Feasts.
Amanda shares with us her deep love of the Highlands and all it has to offer. Highland Harvest Feasts came about as a way to showcase our region through agri-tourism, a fast-growing but largely untapped market. It's all about seasons, the harvests, the planting and then the celebration of what abundance has been created thanks to Mother Nature. It is about reconnecting with nature, breaking bread and celebrating the stories behind our local people and businesses. Supporting our famers and producers. Each season in the Highlands offers us something new and different. Highland Harvest Feasts aims to provide a platform where we can come together to uncover all the wonders that our little patch of Oz has got to show for itself. And, as we well know, that’s a whole lot.
Unable to squeeze in another morsel of chocolate ganache, we admit defeat and call it a day. We meander back along the track (it’s not quite a stumble, promise!), towards our air-conditioned chariot. Turning back one last time, we bid a fond farewell to our little world beyond the looking glass. Taking leave from newly made friends and making plans to reconnect at the change of seasons. Autumn has certainly set the bar high. We cannot wait for winter to show us just what she’s made of. Thank you, Highland Harvest Feasts - you haven’t seen the last of us!
If this sounds right up your alley, the next Wine Harvest Feast is on 21 March, 2020. Click here for all the deets and to book tickets!
Oh, and if you’ve been meaning to ask friends and family to join you in the Highlands for a weekend, then THIS is the weekend to do it. Imagine how much they would love sitting and chatting in the warm sunshine at a private vineyard with show stopping food and wine! Tickets will move pretty quickly with this one so don't dilly dally peeps! FOMO begone!
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