Police and organisers of this year’s McLaren Vale Bank SA Sea and Vines Festival have praised the behaviour of attendees and the organisation of wineries involved, declaring the festival the biggest and best in its 23 year history.
The vast majority of events across the entire weekend pre-sold, including intimate ‘Relish’ events running from Friday evening until today, ‘Sunday Experience’ party tickets and today’s ‘Monday Zest’ family-focussed activities.
General Manager of organising body McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association, Jennifer Lynch, said crowd numbers have exceeded expectations with particularly strong attendance at today’s events.
“Overall we’d estimate crowd numbers at well above 25,000, with more than 30 wineries participating in a broad array of events,” Jennifer said.
“In the past, Sunday has certainly captured the party goers but, over recent years, guests have truly embraced the unique and exclusive ‘Relish’ events which run across the whole weekend and provide the opportunity to really explore the culture, history and culinary values of McLaren Vale.
“The Market Kitchen Table event yesterday beautifully represented the soil-to-table journey of our region’s food and wine; meantime more than 30 runners took part in the Vine to Sea race and we were even privileged enough to witness a couple becoming engaged while on the Matt Skinner Plumm tour.
“What has been a particularly great surprise is the number of people who have flocked to today’s un-ticketed events, making the most of the great weather, food, wine and live music while their children were delighted by petting zoos, bouncy castles and a Velcro sticky wall.”
From the police perspective, Sergeant Malcom Marr is the South Coast Planning Officer responsible for the region’s activity.
“For the third year running, we’ve had zero Driving Under The Influence arrests made across the entire weekend in relation to the festival” Sergeant Marr said.
“This is a fantastic result and we believe that the responsible drinking vs driving messaging, including the RAA designated driver program, is having a real impact.
“While there were a few minor behavioural issues yesterday, they’re things you’d expect at any event of this size and, from our point of view, we saw no real dramas.
“Despite larger than usual Monday crowd numbers today, we’ve made no arrests at all.”
Social media interaction with all participating wineries has been very positive and the consensus from organisers indicates the premium nature of McLaren Vale’s wine and food culture has been proudly represented and appreciated across the Sea and Vines weekend.