Fun idea: Burning of the vines

Hunter Valley conference guests to join ancient harvest tradition this May and June.


Hunter Valley conference guests to join ancient harvest tradition this May and June.

For the first time, conference guests at seven major properties in the Hunter Valley will take part in in a free, ancient harvest tradition this May and June to symbolically burn disappointments of the previous financial year and ignite goals for the next.

Celebrated during vintage in European vineyards since ancient times, the Burning of the Vines ritual celebrates the end of the grape harvest and the start of the new season’s budburst, with grapevine cuttings burnt in huge bonfires to symbolise rebirth.

As part of the Hunter Valley Wine and Food Festival this May and June, conference delegates at seven of the biggest accommodation properties in the region will receive a vine cutting along with a blank card on arrival in their room to write what they want to turn their back on from the past year and what hopes and aspirations they have for the coming year. Before or after dinner, guests then throw their cuttings and cards into a bonfire or a firepit at the property to farewell the old and toast the new.

This new and complimentary experience will be offered to all conference bookings made for this May and June at The Sebel Kirkton Park, Mercure Resort Hunter Valley Gardens, Hunter Valley Resort, Tuscany Wine Estate Resort, Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, Chateau Elan at the Vintage and Cypress Lakes Resort.

Larger groups can also have Hunter Valley winemakers come and address the group during this Burning of the Vines to talk more around the significance of the ritual and the cycle of vintages in the Hunter.

The Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association’s Marketing Committee chairman, Phil Hele, said the timing of the vine burning ceremony in May and June would align well with companies meeting to reflect on the previous financial year and planning for the next.

“The Burning of the Vines is a colourful, meaningful and memorable way for delegates to personally engage with the traditions and cycles of the Hunter Valley vineyards and also help themselves and their companies evolve and grow in a new financial year,” Hele said.

The general manager of The Sebel Kirkton Park, Belinda Paterson, said the seven properties had collaborated together this year to offer the inaugural Burning of the Vines ceremony to conference delegates with hopes it would become an annual offering.

“Vintage is an exciting time in Australia’s premier wine region and the Burning of the Vines has been a symbol of renewal for centuries so this year, for the first time, we and the six participating properties in the Hunter Valley have decided to offer our conference guests a unique insight into what is a ritual for our viticulturists.

“We are certain the experience of gathering like this around a roaring fire and adding their feelings to the flames will be a moving and rewarding one for guests and a highlight of each conference,” said Paterson.


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