Coonawarra Vignerons Cup Marquee Scratched for 2021 Race Day

Coonawarra Vignerons have announced the cancellation of the 2021 Coonawarra Vignerons Cup Marquee due to ongoing uncertainty surrounding the COVID19 pandemic.

In what is a highlight on the country racing calendar, the Coonawarra Vignerons Cup Marquee attracts over 700 guests to experience a full day of premium hospitality and thoroughbred racing action, at the Penola Racecourse, making it one of the larger events in the wine region.

In January this year, the Coonawarra Vignerons hosted the 38th annual 36o South Coonawarra Vignerons Cup in January with a sold-out marquee of 728 guests. Coonawarra Vignerons wine community members and Patrons, event sponsors, dignitaries and public attendees were treated to premium trackside hospitality, and world-class Coonawarra wines, whilst being entertained by celebrity host, Comedian, Merrick Watts.

Coonawarra Vignerons President Pete Balnaves said “We feel very fortunate to have been able to have proceeded with this year’s (2020) Marquee event, unaffected by the later onset of the pandemic and the catastrophic fires that were wreaking havoc in other parts of the country at that time. It was a sensational day, and one that will look fondly back on in 2021.”

Coonawarra Vignerons Marketing & Event Officer, Heidi Eldridge, said the uncertainty surrounding COVID19 maked it difficult to plan next year’s event. “Whilst regulations are gradually easing, there is still a way to go, particularly where large-scale events are concerned. Social distancing rules, together with the restrictions that may apply around food and alcohol consumption, add a layer of complexity ” Ms Eldridge said.

President Peter Balnaves said the decision to cancel the esteemed marquee event did not come lightly. “Consideration was given to scale back the event, however we are very conscious of the economics and the social responsibility of running the event with reduced numbers and more particularly about trying to ensure that a changed event due to the pandemic does not undermine the previous history or standing of the event”.

Mr Balnaves said suppliers and accommodation providers would be directly affected, by the cancellation of the marquee. “Accommodation providers in Penola and surrounds take bookings for the event year on year. The marquee attracts visitors from all over the country and, have a loyal contingent of patrons that come from Victoria, who love to stay on and enjoy the greater offerings of our region.”

Despite the cancellation of the Marquee event, the Coonawarra Vignerons Cup race day is still set to run on Thursday 14th January, with general admission attendance permitted at the Penola Racecourse. Public are encouraged to attend to enjoy an 8-race fixture, with the venue offering expansive lawn area for COVID Safe viewing.

“We will be working towards the return of our marquee event in 2022, but in the meantime hope our members and the public will still get behind the race day and enjoy a casual day out on track!” Mr Balnaves said.

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