The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said common sense has finally prevailed with the Andrews Government backflipping on their cellar door ban.
New guidelines released today reverses Daniel Andrews decision to disallow cellar door wine sales and tastings.
Ms Bath said she is relieved that wineries in eastern Victoria can now serve tastings and wine from the cellar door following pressure from the Nationals, Liberals and the wine industry.
“The Andrews Government ban on wine sales and tastings in Victoria without a meal was ludicrous.
“When people are allowed to sit down in a café and order a coffee without food, they should also be allowed to do the same with wine at the cellar door.
Victoria’s cellar door rule was another example of the Premier complicating restrictions again. It shouldn’t have mattered if customers are seated in the wine tasting room, an alfresco garden or restaurant, having a meal or not.”
The new guidelines for wineries will commence on 1 June, permitting them to reopen their cellar doors, bringing Victoria in line with NSW and South Australia.
From Monday wineries can once again offer free wine tastings to seated customers, and those attending a restaurant can purchase alcohol by the bottle or glass.
Ms Bath said the original ban on cellar door sales and tasting had caused widespread concern across the industry.
“Wineries throughout eastern Victoria had suffered a triple whammy wack to their operations through drought, bushfire and finally COVID-19”, said Ms Bath.
“They a vital part of our local tourism economy, favoured amongst day and overnight visitors to Gippsland, the Yarra Valley and the Mornington Peninsula.
“Eastern Victoria is home to an amazing array of boutique wineries, so with physical distancing in place there was absolutely no reason why the state government ruled against them opening in the first place.
“Victoria wineries would have lost thousands of dollars if they couldn’t open during the long weekend.
“I am relieved the Andrews Government has seen the light and backflipped on their original decision to ban cellar door sales.
“Our local wineries can now start rebuilding their business and use the Queen’s Birthday weekend as a much needed economic kick start.”