29 February 2024

New wine tasting hub Harvest HQ to open in Griffith on Friday 1 March

| Oliver Jacques
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HarvestHQ exterior

Harvest HQ will open on Friday 1 March. Photo: Supplied.

A new wine tasting centre will open its doors in Griffith on Friday (1 March).

The venue, called Harvest HQ, is a transformation of the town’s old ambulance station into a hub that showcases the wine sold across the region in one central location, next to the Visitor’s Information Centre.

The ambitious venture has taken just under two years to complete and was driven by the representative body the Riverina Winemakers Association (RWA).

“Harvest HQ will have bookable tasting experiences, as well as host a range of different mini events that are centered on wine and food. We will primarily showcase our Riverina wine but also the beer, gin, and other local produce from our region,” Carrah Lymer, Executive Officer RWA and Harvest HQ Manager, said.

“The interior [of the old ambulance station] has been absolutely transformed. Visitors will just want to sit and enjoy a local wine and watch the world go by from our gorgeous, curved windows.”

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The old art deco type building, which sits on the corner of Banna Avenue and Tranter Place, has undergone a refresh on the outside that maintains its original features. On the inside, the old offices and garage area of the building has undergone a modern refurbishment to prepare it to host events.

The venue will be officially opened by invited guests and representatives this Friday (1 March).

Members of the general public can book wine tasting experiences costing $20 each from Thursday 7 March onwards via the Harvest HQ website. The hub will be open from Thursdays through to Sundays and the first sessions advertised offer varieties of Durif and Italian wine. Bookings are necessary due to limited space.

On booking, visitors can pick a spot in either the wine bar tasting and lounge area at front, or the ‘beer bar’ area in the converted garage space out back where the ambulances used to park.

Old ambulance station photo from 1959

The opening of the old ambulance station in 1959. Photo: Riverina Winemakers Association.

The Riverina is the largest wine growing region in NSW, producing more than 108 million litres of the product annually. However, it’s never attracted the levels of tourism of other viticulture areas such as the Hunter and Barossa valleys.

Griffith wineries tend to be located out of town, making it difficult for visitors short on time to see them all. The new hub in the centre of town is expected to make local produce more accessible to visitors.

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The NSW Government alcohol regulator the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) approved a liquor licence for the venue in September 2023.

ILGA licensing coordinator Kieran McSherry noted the positive benefits of RWA’s venture in his decision.

“The licensee will host a variety of events relating to regional wine promotions, education which may on occasion be organised in tandem with local community groups,” he wrote.

“I am satisfied that the granting of the liquor licence, with the condition imposed, will ensure that the lawful operation of the premises will not be detrimental to the local or broader community.”

He also noted that no public submissions were received relating to any matters with the application.

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