Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Orange Food and Wine - a postscript

Photo: Orange Farmers Market

Over dinner last night (two different reds plus a desert wine all from Orange) I had a chance to follow up on some more details on the Orange food and wine experience I described in my last post. This described the reaction of my brother-in-law and his wife to their weekend in Orange.

Talking further last night, both said that they would go back to Orange rather than the better known Hunter Valley wine areas. I found this an interesting comment because it shows that Orange is now getting real traction.

In previous posts I have spoken (here, here and here for example) about the impact of travel time. While Australians will travel long distances, two to four hours driving time is about the maximum range that people will drive from their home base for, say, a weekend away.

The Australian wine industry is very competitive, especially for the thousands of small wineries that rely on cellar door or local outlet sales. For that reason, it's not surprising that so many wine regions and wineries are located in a four hour drive circle around major metropolitan centres as both Orange and the Hunter are to Sydney.

As a smaller wine and food area, Orange only needs to attract a small proportion of the Sydney market to continue as a considerable success.

While in Orange Tim and Kim went to the local farmers market. This is held on the second Saturday of the month at the Orange Showground. They were impressed with the quality of the produce, although because the markets really target the upper quality end, produce is not necessarily cheap. If you are interested, you can find out more from the very useful market web site.

One thing that did puzzle me is that while Orange sells its food and wine reputation to attract visitors, there does not appear to be any emphasis on local food in restaurants once the visitor is there.

Now it may be that this is taken for granted, but I still think that it is a mistake since it seems to me that changes in menus centred on the seasonality of local food would add to the experience.

No comments: