COVID has corked yet another Coonawarra Vignerons Cup Day Marquee event, with little over a week to go before the prestigious luncheon was set to take place at the Penola Racecourse.
Approximately 400 wine industry representatives, sponsors and public were due to converge on the racecourse next Thursday 13th January for a day of premium hospitality and entertainment, with world-class wine and 36° South Beef being showcased in partnership with the running of the 40th annual 36° South Coonawarra Vignerons Cup.
The marquee event, which has previously attracted over 700 guests, is one of the largest single events hosted by the Coonawarra Vignerons in the region and has long been a drawcard for wine lovers and horse racing enthusiasts from all over the country to the Coonawarra Wine region.
The cancellation announcement comes as a result of the increasing concern around the rising COVID case numbers, in particular omicron cases that are evolving in the Limestone Coast.
Coonawarra Vignerons Executive Officer Ockert Le Roux said the decision to cancel the esteemed marquee event did not come lightly. “In this instance, the risk to our community and attendees far outweighed the benefits of proceeding with the event.”
“We have observed an increasing lack of confidence from ticket holders in these final days leading up to the event with a number of cancellations and refunds requested. A single positive case at this event could very well result in Cellar Door closures across the region given the significant representation from Coonawarra wineries at the event.”
Coonawarra Vignerons Events & Marketing Officer Heidi Eldridge praised the efforts of the organising committee and shared her disappointment around the cancellation, “The organising committee had gone to great lengths to plan around the various restriction levels to ensure that the 2022 Marquee event would proceed in a COVID safe manner. This included offering an expansive outdoor precinct, flexible seating options and mandating a double vaccination policy for entry to the marquee precinct for all ticket holders.”
“Given the cancellation of the 2021 event due to uncertainty surrounding COVID19, there was great enthusiasm from our members and the public to see the event return this year. Whilst it would have been a fabulous event, the safety of the Coonawarra Community is of the utmost importance” Ms Eldridge said.
Mr Le Roux 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.”
The Penola Racing Club will still play host to the 36° South Coonawarra Vignerons Cup race program on Thursday 13th January 2022, with general admission attendance permitted.
Public are encouraged to attend the race day to enjoy a fun-filled 8-race fixture, with the Penola Racecourse offering an expansive lawn area for COVID Safe viewing and catering options on course.
Attendees are required to provide proof of single vaccination for entry to the course and are required to book their general admission entry tickets online. https://www.moshtix.com.au/v2/event/36%C2%B0-south-coonawarra-vignerons-cup-2022/133080