Next week, a locally-produced ‘High Country Cider, Wine and Food Trail’ map is set to be released, thanks to an ‘idea in the middle of the night’ and a grant from the Bendigo Bank branch in Tumbarumba.
Batlow resident Margaret Sedgwick brought the idea forward to the Do It For Batlow Committee, hoping they’d take it on as a way to encourage tourism through Batlow, Tumbarumba and south to the edge of the Snowy Valleys LGA.
Mrs Sedgwick is casual about her role in the process, but the trail map took somewhere around 30 hours, spread out over several weeks, to contact all the local vignerons, cider makers and venues which sell Snowy Valleys produce.
By doing all the hard work herself, Mrs Sedgwick ensured that the only expense for producing the brochure will be the printing costs, which have been covered through a $500 grant from the Bendigo Bank.
“It’s been enjoyable,” said Mrs Sedgwick.
“I’ve met quite a few people that I didn’t know before who are on the trail, heard their stories, and put together this brochure which was quite a lot of work, but quite enjoyable.”
Only one cellar door is currently included in the trail – Courabyra Wines – with the others too heavily impacted by last year’s fires to open this year.
“Hopefully they’ll be back to winemaking by the end of the year,” said Mrs Sedgwick.
“The reason I did this was to help the orchards and the vignerons in Batlow and Tumbarumba. They’ve had a lot of misfortune this time last year. 2020 was a fairly miserable year, so I just thought this might help to get tourists moving again to those venues.”
The initial plan was to have 1000 of the brochures ready for Christmas and New Year travellers, but Mrs Sedgwick said the timeframe for the printers was too tight. She’s hoping to have them available at high-tourist traffic areas some time in February.
The trail includes local food stalls, restaurants, pubs, clubs and cafes that sell Batlow cider and/or Tumbarumba wines, along with a list of places to visit, things to do, and places to stay in Batlow and Tumbarumba.
“There was a lot of enthusiasm,” said Mrs Sedgwick.
“This brochure is being produced free to all the people on the trail.”
During the fires, Mrs Sedgwick lost pastures, fences and part of her garden, but her home survived. She’s lived in Batlow for 56 years and hopes that her contribution will help bring back some of the vitality which Batlow used to enjoy.
“Batlow was a very busy, active, thriving community and we need to get that back again,” she said.
“I think the fires have given us a great opportunity to go forward. People have got lots of ideas, lots of plans which all take time and funding, but I think we will come out of last year and this year with a better Batlow, a more community-minded Batlow and a Batlow that hopefully will progress.”
The Do It For Batlow Committee supported the brochure’s development and applauded Mrs Sedgwick’s commitment to her project.
President Max Gordon-Hall said he was impressed by how quickly it all came together.
“It was only four or five months ago she came to us with her A4 folder and a handwritten note, and now it’s going to the design phase,” said Mr Gordon-Hall.