Mario Gangemi and Robyn Puglisi-Henderson from Ballandean Estate Wines.
Mario Gangemi and Robyn Puglisi-Henderson from Ballandean Estate Wines.

Inaugural May 'race day' postponed indefinitely

AS EVENTS across the region continue to be canned owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ballandean Estate Wines are feeling the impact.

Two big events in May have been postponed indefinitely, with a chance they will hold out until next year to try again.

May 3's inaugural Autumn Race Day, jointly run by Rotary and the winery, will not go ahead for now.

"Rotary has pulled the pin on it," Leeanne Puglisi-Gangemi from Ballandean Estate Wines said.

"It's disappointing because this was our first year and our little committee has been working pretty hard to try and get people interested in something other than opera."

The event was due to replace the long-running Opera in the Vineyard event.

"It was looking like it was going to be a great, fun day but we're not deterred. We will do it.

"I can't see it happening later this year. I would say it'll be postponed to next year at this stage," Ms Puglisi-Gangemi said.

Financially, it's a big blow for Rotary.

The event, similar to Opera in the Vineyard, was to be a club fundraiser.

Over the years that event had raised more than $1 million for Rotary charity causes.

"We've got big shoulders and we're certainly ready to take that challenge back on again at some stage."

Another event run by Ms Puglisi-Gangemi, Grazing the Granite Belt, is also not going ahead.

"It was looking like being a sell out," she said.

"Wineries are involved, accommodation houses, so it's another blow."

That event was set down for May 16-17.

Ballandean Estate Wines' cellar door is also closed for the first time since it opened in the 1970s.

"We're only allowed to be open like a bottle shop.

"But, we're lucky. Our online sales, and I would say most of the wineries in the region, have had a wonderful influx of support.

"Our freight guy from Fastway (couriers) has been very busy.

"It's fantastic people are still wanting to have Granite Belt wines on their table - particularly at Easter.

"We're trying to keep a stiff upper lip through this and I think the biggest thing is we've got to be ready for when this turns around.

"We'll be ready for tourists," she said.