YOU’D be forgiven for thinking life at Feathertop Winery in the Ovens Valley couldn’t get much better — but it has.
Owners Janelle and Kel Boynton yesterday revealed the results of a major expansion at the Porepunkah winery.
The $1.3 million project has directly created 20 permanent jobs, including about 10 casual positions that have been converted to full-time.
“We’re already seeing an increase in business investment and tourism,” Mrs Boynton said.
“But really the most rewarding thing is celebrating as staff members are able to buy houses and the like, based on their full-time job security.”
The federal and Victorian governments made grants of $250,000 and $150,000 respectively.
An underground food and wine vault has been developed, creating a space for functions, training and educational tours.
There’s also a renovated kitchen, much landscaping and plans to further increase accommodation down the track, as well as provide a day spa.
“We see it as a pause-point in being able to stop and celebrate this stage of the development, and look forward to the future,” Mrs Boynton said.
Member for Indi Cathy McGowan and state MP for Benalla Bill Sykes attended along with tourism operators and food and wine producers.
Dr Sykes the close-knit nature of those living and working in the valley was to its benefit.
“We’re seeing similar expansions elsewhere in the valley and it’s all building on our market niche,” he said.
“Beautiful scenery, great wines and amazing food.
“From where I’m standing now, looking out to Mount Buffalo, it just doesn’t get any better than this.”
Mrs Boynton said she she was keen to share the Feathertop experience with others in the region.
“The more people can invest and the more new products out there, the better it is for the region,” she said.