Cherry wine was once so popular in Australia it was called the wine of choice at the family home.
But in recent years it has taken on a more mainstream reputation and has been used in the production of Australian wine.
In 2015, it was described as “one of the most distinctive Australian wines of all time” by Wine Spectator magazine, and “a genuine and special expression of the region’s passion” by the Australian Wine Institute.
Its popularity was a major reason for the creation of the Cherry Wine Festival in 2016, which celebrated the grapes from which the wine is made.
The festival attracted more than 100,000 people to Melbourne from September to November, with many visiting Melbourne’s prestigious and historic Victoria Theatre for the event.
“It was a really great festival because the wines were actually being produced at a time when wine in Australia was at its peak,” said Chris Beagle, one of the organisers of the event, which was held in Melbourne’s North Shore, north of the CBD.
“[It] really tapped into the love of the wine, the love for it and the love that the Melbourne people have for the cherry trees.”
At the event Mr Beagle said he had no idea the grape was so iconic.
“I thought it was really cool to be a part of that and that the grapes had to be grown in Australia,” he said.
He said he and his family had been visiting the region since he was a child, but the cherry wine story was not one he had been aware of.
“It’s not something that we have ever talked about,” he explained.
Mr Beagle and his wife, Sue, have been visiting Melbourne for more than 10 years and were inspired to create the Cherry wine festival when they were offered the chance to tour the region.
“The cherry wine has always been a part, but there’s no place like the cherry vineyards to go and see the cherry winemaking,” he added.
When he heard about the festival, he said he was initially hesitant to travel to Australia, but he soon discovered how much the cherry vines in Melbourne were valued.
“We knew the cherry wines in Australia were so good and they were such a special wine to us, it made us really excited,” he recalled.
One of the many benefits of travelling to Melbourne was to learn about the history of the cherry tree.
“You see the vineyards, you see the trees, you’re just mesmerised,” Mr Beagles said.
“What we’re talking about is a very special place.”
And we wanted to go there, and we didn’t have to travel far to do it.
“The first cherry wine festival in Australia took place in 2000 in the city of Melbourne.
The event attracted hundreds of thousands of people to the city and brought in more than $6 million in revenue.
Since then, there have been cherry wine festivals in the US, Australia and New Zealand.
The Cherry Wine Museum was established in the 1980’s and was the first to be established in Australia.”
This is a wonderful opportunity to get to know the history and the heritage of the cherries,” Ms Beagle explained.”
There’s something about the cherry that brings back memories of your youth and brings you back to that time.
“Melbourne is one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations, and there are many events happening at this time of year.”
If you’re planning to go to Melbourne and enjoy the cherry season, I can guarantee that you’ll have a good time,” Mr Kean said.