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TLC pays off for local winemaker

GRAPEFUL: Mark Heath from Gippsland Wine Company recently picked the last of his crop from the vineyard he recently took over in Loch. 

A VINEYARD overlooking the picturesque countryside of Loch has been saved from demolition by local man, Mark Heath.

The vineyard fell into disrepair when the previous owner passed away around two years ago.

Investors from Melbourne then purchased the property with the intention of bulldozing it for farmland.

Thankfully, they first approached Mr Heath at his Loch based winery, The Gippsland Wine Company, and he agreed to resurrect the vineyard in June of last year.

“I’m one of those people that if you say I can’t do something, I take it on,” Mr Heath chuckled.

“A few of my colleagues said it wasn’t a good thing to take on, but I’m happy I did.”

Mr Heath has been working since to revive the vineyard which hadn’t been sprayed or pruned in years.

“We budgeted for no fruit this year but we’ve had a return through hard work and tender loving care,” Mr Heath said.

A decent selection of shiraz, cabernet, sauvignon and riesling grapes were harvested despite the dire predictions.

Mr Heath was delighted, saying he needed the grapes for his expanding company which now encompasses five local vineyards.

The jovial winemaker off 44 years said he plans to continue his work for a further 20 because he loves what he does. 

 “I don’t care what you do, you’ve got to have a passion,” he said.

When asked what his favourite wine was, Mr Heath narrowed it down to his wine company’s Gustoso – a tasty and savoury Italian wine blend of pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon and sangiovese , which he said has attracted quite the following.

A true believer of backing local, Mr Heath said The Gippsland Wine Company is fortunate to be backed by many local cafes and restaurants that stock their products.

“Michael’s IGA group in Korumburra and Leongatha support us pretty heavily,” he said.

The profusion of local support for his wines resulted in Mr Heath declaring Friday nights in his Loch winery strictly for locals from 5pm onwards a few years ago.

“People bring their own food, we have tastings, the place is packed,” he said.

The food and wine lover is also the chairman of the Loch Food and Wine Festival committee.

“South Gippsland is the food bowl of Victoria with our wine, cheese, truffles and saffron growers,” he said, commenting on how lucky locals are to live in such a beautiful area. 

The festival this year will be on  June 9, and will feature beer and wine tastings, cooking demonstrations and entertainment.

More information can be found on the Loch Food and Wine Festival Facebook page.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=28410

Posted by on Apr 24 2019. Filed under Business. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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