The High Country Harvest, which each Autumn showcases the outstanding food, wine and craft beer offerings of the region in a curated program of ticketed and free events, was another resounding success in 2017, acting as an important tourism driver for the region.

Compared with 2016, this year’s event:

  • Attracted 7,063 participants, a 22% increase
  • Saw hero event ticket sales increase by 37%
  • Generated an impressive $2.69 million in direct spend to the local economy, an increase of 48%
  • Saw a growth in overnight visitor numbers of 57%, equating to 9,518 visitor nights
  • Those who stayed overnight increased their length of stay, with 24% staying for three nights or more, compared to 15% last year

Analysis of this year’s event also found that High Country Harvest participants undertook a range of other activities which further contributed to the regional tourism economy, including 65% visiting a cellar door, 42% visiting a brewery, 85% dining at restaurants and cafes and 45% taking part in both walking and retail experiences.

Of the 53 events that featured in the 2017 program, 30 of them were newly created for High Country Harvest, and 19 businesses were involved who had not participated previously. Over 40% of the events in 2017 were collaborative in nature (featuring two or more businesses working together) and 50% of the events were sell-outs. These strong results give further weight to the High Country Harvest core objective of driving industry and product development across the region.

As well as the core, curated program of events, this year’s High Country Harvest again offered cafes, restaurants and cellar doors in the region the opportunity to be involved by adding special Autumn Harvest Menus and Warmers to their menus. These were only available during the event and featured local and seasonal ingredients. This year, 36 operators were involved in this way, which was up from 23 businesses the previous year.

In addition, Village Bonfires proved a popular drawcard with visitors and locals who enjoyed local food and wine at a series of seven bonfire evenings held across the region.

And for the first time in 2017, all seven High Country Brewers collaborated on an event, presenting 7 brews in 7 Days - a series of free, open brew sessions every day of the second week of the High Country Harvest program, offering visitors a unique look at the craft brewing process.