Rutherglen wineries increasing measures to combat booze fuelled behaviour at Winery Walkabout

An ambulance was called to one of the Rutherglen wineries on Sunday. Picture: MARK JESSER
An ambulance was called to one of the Rutherglen wineries on Sunday. Picture: MARK JESSER

RUTHERGLEN wineries are fearful anti-social behaviour at the annual Winery Walkabout is on the rise with extra police resources called in for the event which concluded on Sunday.

Campbells Wines took the added measures this year of increasing security and capping the number of revellers who attended the winery which followed the step of closing an hour earlier a year ago.

Thousands again descended on the wine growing region for its busiest weekend of the year.

Rutherglen police were unable to comment on the behaviour of walkabout attendees, but revealed added resources had been brought in.

Campbells Wines owner Colin Campbell confirmed the extra precautionary steps taken this year.

“We want to keep things clean and tidy,” he said.

“It is one of the reasons we are doing what we are and other wineries are doing the same.

“It is the same old story 'if you don’t look after something and it gets out of control, you are going to lose it’.

“It then becomes a disaster because it is a fantastic weekend.”

Indigo Shire mayor Jenny O’Connor, who attended the event on Sunday, praised the extra measures taken by wineries to combat anti-social behaviour.

“Anything where you are mixing alcohol and an event needs to be really well managed,” she said.

“There is the potential for problems with excessive alcohol consumption.

“If there has been any problems that is really disappointing.”

Destination Rutherglen chairman Greg Duncan praised the behaviour of the crowd which attended the country fair in the centre of town.

A full to capacity 375 stalls lined the main street and helped bring a major economic boost to the town once again.

“The crowd has been very well behaved,” he said.

“The way the volunteers help out with this event is absolutely fabulous and everyone in town makes a quid out of it.”

Another 20 to 30 stall-holders were on a waiting list.

The annual grape stomp organised by the Rutherglen Apex Club was once again a feature of the country fair.

It also had an international flavour with Belgium tourist Bart Stevens and his girl-friend Annie McDonagh from Melbourne taking part.

Ms McDonagh’s parents camp at Yarrawonga and regularly come across for the Winery Walkabout.

“We were going to just watch, but mum and dad said why don’t you try it and we did,” Ms McDonagh said.

Mr Stevens said his calf muscles were left burning from the three-minute workout in which they produced 1.24 litres of grape juice