Half-way through a winery walkabout tour one year, events organiser Lisa MacGregor felt like switching it up and having a beer. Her realisation that this was not an option was also the moment Vinehop was born, because an idea uncurled in her mind and planted a little seed: there’s a market for a multi-venue beer, wine, and cider festival!
‘I love my wine, but I really, really love my beer,’ Lisa says. ‘And I’m the kind of person that gets bored quickly: I like to have dinner here, post-dinner drinks there, and dessert somewhere else.’
The more Lisa thought about it, the more she realised how much a multi-venue festival had to offer. It solved the problem of designated drivers, it got people to a variety of venues without getting lost, travel times between venues help people to pace themselves between drinks, and it brought beer, wine and cider lovers all together in one place.
‘Combining beer, wine and cider results in a better cross-section of attendees,’ Lisa explains. ‘For example, you’ll notice that while women do attend beer festivals – and I’m one of them – there are usually more men than women. And while men do attend wine festivals, they are often more popular with women.’
Besides, the self-confessed beer-lover and home-brewer was well aware of an emerging craft beer scene on the Mornington Peninsula; one that she thought deserved more recognition.
‘Everyone knows the Mornington Peninsula as an area that produces award-winning wines, and that’s as it should be. But the Peninsula should also be known for its award-winning craft beers,’ Lisa says.
Vinehop showcases a beautiful part of the world that produces world-class craft beers, ciders and wines.
The first Vinehop Festival, held in 2017, was a great success, attended by more than 3000 people. This year Lisa says they are expecting the same again or more, and have increased bus and venue capacity to meet the demand.
‘Also, this year we have managed to include every brewery on the Mornington Peninsula,’ Lisa says.
Here’s how it rolls: for Vinehop Saturday you choose from a selection of ticket options that give you access to varying venues, complete with tastings and transport between venues. It’s like having a personal chauffeur, expect it’s a bus, and your mates and heaps of other happy chaps are on board. There’s even an app in the works, that will keep Vine-hoppers appraised of bus departure times.
Posthop Sunday is a five-course degustation picnic matched with a selection of beer, wine and cider at just one venue: Hickinbotham of Dromana, featuring entertainment from soul sensation Kylie Auldist from The Bamboos.
Organising a winery and brewery tour on a festival scale is quite an exercise in logistics, Lisa says.
‘We have 100 buses lined up, on different schedules and timeframes. While this makes it a bit more complex for us to organise, it makes for a better experience for Vine-hoppers.’
The buses will tour Vine-hoppers between the 11 different sites including Bayview Estate, Dromana Estate, Blue Range Estate, The Old Apple Estate and Stumpy Gully Vineyard, each of them hosting pop-up stalls from external brands and venues such as Red Hill Brewery, Ten Sixty One Cider and Hop Nation, as well as food trucks and DJs to build on the festival vibe.
‘Vinehop showcases a beautiful part of the world that produces world-class craft beers, ciders and wines,’ Lisa says.
What: Vinehop Festival
Where: Mornington Peninsula
When: 17–18 November
More information: www.vinehopfestival.com.au