Freshmax Group, an Australian fresh produce marketing and distribution operator, showcases RICO pears. Slightly irreverent, superior in quality and full of personality, RICO is out to redefine how Australians perceive pears. Read more
Introducing SuperSeed, Australia’s first plant-based ice creme made from hemp seed milk. SuperSeed is now available at independent grocers and health food stores across Victoria. Read more
Coles Local stores across Victoria will offer an exclusive range of chocolate easter eggs from farmed region supplier, The Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie. Read more
After three years of postponements and cancellation due to COVID-19, the Melbourne International Coffee Expo is set to return with a bang in 2022. Read more
The 2022 Meat Standards Australia (MSA) Excellence in Eating Quality Awards recognised Victorian beef producers who consistently delivered superior-quality beef. Read more
The Victorian government is establishing new horticulture and agriculture facilities at South West TAFE’s Glenormiston campus, boosting training opportunities in south-west Victoria’s thriving food and fibre sector. Read more
McCormick & Company Inc, a multinational food company, have announced plans to open a new, environmentally friendly, multi-purpose head office in Mentone, Victoria. Currently under construction, the facility will provide a boost to manufacturing in early 2022. Read more
Researchers from Agriculture Victoria and the Grains Research and Development Corporation are helping to boost the production of pulses by testing new varieties and harnessing new technology, capitalising on a growing domestic and global market. Read more
Meredith Dairy, a family run business in western Victoria, is one of several businesses benefitting from the Agriculture Energy Investment Plan (AEIP), which is helping farmers to save on energy costs and reduce their on-farm emissions. Read more
Victorian couple James and Liza Barbour turned their backyard pickle hobby into the third largest pickle producer in Australia in only two short years, here is how it happened. Read more
Splash Vodka, an Australian-made and owned alcohol brand, has launched into select Liquorland stores across Victoria. Liquorland will offer Splash Vodka’s new flavours – Watermelon + Pomegranate and Orange + Passion Fruit. Read more
Under the first tranche of the new Food to Market program, 13 key industry and regional peak bodies will receive grants for projects that add value to food grown and processed in Victoria. Read more
Mountain Distilling, a distillery in Mount Macedon, Victoria, has won gold in the 2021 International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) for its first whiskey, Red Gum Single Malt Whiskey. Read more
Meal kit company HelloFresh has announced plans to open the largest Australian meal kit pick-and-pack facility in Ravenhall, Victoria in July, nicknamed the Tuckerbox. Read more
Under the National Bee Pest Surveillance Program, Bega Cheese and Agriculture Victoria are partnering to investigate biosecurity threats to Australian bees.
Air Liquide and Gippsland Basin Joint Venture have signed a long-term CO2 supply agreement which will see a new CO2 purification and production facility being constructed. The Gippsland Basin Joint Venture consists of 50-50 BHP Petroleum (Bass Strait) Pty Ltd and Esso Australia Resource Pty Ltd. Read more
Three Victorian wineries are putting aside traditional rivalries to help each other recover from the coronavirus.
And they’re using award-winning wines and food, nature, and the relatively low profile of
the region as their biggest drawcards.
Tahbilk, Fowles, and Mitchelton — three, five-star rated wineries, located in the Strathbogie
Shire, approximately 90 minutes north of Melbourne — have been hit hard by border closures and Melbourne’s recent ‘ring of steel’, which separated regional Victoria from metropolitan Melbourne:
• The historic Tahbilk Winery is Victoria’s oldest winery situated on the banks of the Goulburn River. Once referred to by the first people as ‘tabilk-tabilk’ (or the ‘place of many waterholes’), Tahbilk is a carbon neutral winery nestled among river flats and kilometres of backwaters, creeks, and walking trails.
• Just up the road, also fronting Victoria’s longest river, is Mitchelton Wines, a mid-century architectural masterpiece, which has been recently updated to include the iconic Ashton Tower, overlooking the Goulburn River and ranges, award winning cellar door, 58 room hotel, restaurant, major events, and one of Australia’s largest Aboriginal art galleries.
• Fowles Wine is the relatively new kid on the block – a five-star winery and farm located in the small township of Avenel, a short drive from the other two wineries. Fowles has also invested in its future, opening a new cellar door and renovating its restaurant, drawing on inspiration from the quintessential Aussie shed and majestic views of the Strathbogie Ranges.
“Each winery is completely different. Yet, by coming together, we offer the chance for guests to experience the best of the Victorian wine industry in a day. This is a great opportunity for people who want real, authentic experiences,” according to Fowles Wine owner Matt Fowles.
Like most businesses in the region, Tahbilk, Fowles, and Mitchelton depend upon holiday makers and daytrippers using the Hume Highway, which completely dried up as a source of tourism in 2020. But now the renowned Shiraz and Riesling producers are fighting back, using the region’s natural hidden gems, and relatively low tourism profile, as part of a new campaign to secure their share of Victoria’s $10bn regional tourism market.
“Relatively little-known wine regions and townships, like nearby Nagambie and Avenel, now have a fighting chance to compete with better-known visitor destinations because of the virus,” Fowles said.
Tahbilk CEO Alister Purbrick said there were about 4.4 million people visiting and spending money in regional Victoria every month in 2019.
“That’s a lot of visitors, even before the pandemic begun, and that gives us a lot of heart to make a serious comeback from the ravage of this pandemic,” he said.
With Victoria’s regional tourism boom expected to go deep into next year, Mr Purbrick said it made sense for the three wineries to band together to offer an attractive alternative to the regular touristy spots.
“In the coming months, we expect to see a surge in visitors from Melbourne, within the region, and even interstate, looking for places to visit and explore, which are different, unexpected, and safe.
“People will still want to have a great food and wine experience in a beautiful regional setting. But, post-lockdown, they will also want to be able to stretch out, breathe, feel safe, and be totally free from the hassle of queues and crowds, which is exactly what we are offering,” Purbrick said.
Chief winemaker at Mitchelton, Andrew Santarossa, said the Take Nature’s Road Trip campaign exploited the fact the region is not always top-of-mind, or on the ‘map’, for most day-trippers.
“For us, this has become one of our greatest strengths as we don’t have the same crowds, or traffic problems, which other more frequented regional wine destinations are likely to encounter this coming summer.
“But what we do have is an amazing natural setting boasting some of Victoria’s best wineries and dining, wide-open spaces, the Goulburn River and Ranges, bush trails and billabongs, and friendly smiles,” Santarossa said.
Three Victorian finalists have been announced for the 2019 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award, which is to be announced in March in recognition of ideas to support Australia’s rural and regional communities.
The award recognises Australian women that use and develop their skills to benefit their industries and communities, including Victoria’s $14 billion agriculture sector.
This year’s finalists include:
- Carly Jordan, from south west Victoria, who wants to continue developing a migrant resettlement model that assists regional towns to boost their populations and economies.
- Claire Moore, from Kyneton, who wants to breed a genetically diverse range of queen bees that are healthy and adaptable in a variety of climates to address declining bee colony numbers.
- Odette Suitor, from Sunbury, who wants to continue developing a grains storage concept to improve the efficiency of grain harvest by taking the concept to industry.
The Victorian winner will be announced at an upcoming ceremony and will receive a bursary of $10,000 to implement her project. The national winner will be announced at an award ceremony in Canberra held on 11 September 2019.
“Victorian rural women are at the forefront of innovation and I congratulate our three finalists who I know will do our state proud,” said state agriculture minister, Jaclyn Symes.
“The Andrews Labor Government is focused on the positive future of women in rural communities and we’re getting on with driving growth in agriculture, creating jobs and supporting the health and wellbeing of our overall regional and rural communities.”
A series of Agriculture Victoria workshops will be held in March, targeted at supporting producers recovering from the December flash flooding and ongoing dry conditions.
Two workshops will be held in March in collaboration with the North East Catchment Management Authority (NECMA).
In addition, farmers can contact Agriculture Victoria if they would like to engage in a free one on one consultation to assist in planning for the months ahead.
State agriculture minister Jaclyn Symes said that the Victorian government was encouraging farmers to attend.
“We recognise the significant impact the December flood had on many landholders in Northern Victoria and that’s why Agriculture Victoria has been on the ground from day one, supporting farmers and the community to recover from the flooding,” Symes said.
“In addition to these workshops, Agriculture Victoria is also offering affected farm businesses a one-on-one consultation to assist them to manage the impacts of the flash flooding and continuing dry seasonal conditions.”
Topic experts will present at the workshops on farm water planning and management, planning on-farm fodder production, livestock nutritional requirements and feed budgeting through 2019.
The first workshop will focus on options for farm water management and will be held at Rutherglen on Monday 4 March.
The second workshop will focus on options for fodder production, livestock nutritional requirements, feed budgeting and planning ahead for the Autumn break.
The second workshop will be held in the flood impacted area at Tarrawingee on Monday 18 March.
The Victorian government is currently offering On-Farm Drought Infrastructure Support Grants of up to $5,000 to producers within Northern Victoria, including the shires impacted by the December flooding, to improve drought management and preparedness.
Assistance was made available to flood impacted farmers and the community through a range of mechanisms including Emergency Relief Assistance Payments, which provide up to $540 per adult and $270 per child (up to a maximum of $1,890 per eligible household) to help meet immediate needs, including emergency food, shelter, clothing, and personal items.
Coca-Cola Amatil will sell its fruit and vegetable processing business, SPC, which is expected to record a $10 million loss for the 2017-18 financial year.
The beverage company’s decision to sell SPC comes four years after the Victorian government and Coca-Cola Amatil co-invested $100 million ($78 and $22 million respectively) to help the struggling business.
Coca-Cola Amatil initiated a strategic review into SPC in August. The company’s group managing director, Alison Watkins, said that while there were no plans to close SPC, the review had concluded that selling the Shepparton-based firm would provide the best means of enabling it to grow in the future.
“We believe there are many opportunities for growth in SPC, including new products and markets, further efficiency improvements, and leveraging technology and intellectual property,” Watkins said.
“The review has concluded that the best way to unlock these opportunities is through divestment, enabling SPC to maximise its potential with the benefit of the recent $100 million co-investment, while Amatil sharpens its focus as a beverages powerhouse.”
Watkins said that while SPC production would for now continue as normal at Shepparton and Kyabram, Coca-Cola Amantil would develop a divestment timeline and process over the coming months.
Watkins also indicated that Coca Cola Amatil has decided that the IXL and Taylor’s brands will remain with SPC following the announcement on 21 November that an expected sale to Kyabram Conserves will no longer proceed.
Coca Cola Amatil has invested approximately $250 million into SPC since acquiring it in 2005, including in new tomato and high-speed snack lines, a new aseptic fruit processing system and new export opportunities including in China.
Watkins said that Coca-Cola Amatil expects its 2017-18 full-year results will weighed down by $50 million in expenses due to “cost optimisation programs” and that the company would possibly be unable to meet earnings growth target in the 2018-19 financial year due to factors that include the impacts of container deposit schemes in Australia, higher PET resin costs and a weak Indonesian rupiah.
Watkins said that SPC’s $10 million loss was “modest” and “not a big deal” in the long-run.
“The challenge for the business is top-line growth, but the core structure of the business now is very good. So what will move that loss to a profit is growth, and that’s what the business is poised to do,” Watkins said.
“We really see a very bright future as a result of the investment we’ve made.”