Mount Tumbarumba Vineyard project ‘critical’

Bushfires approaching the Mount Tumbarumba Vineyard.

Mount Tumbarumba Vineyard owner/operators Elvie Yates and Richard Cottam say they are “thrilled” to have been successful in obtaining a grant of $418,000 from the Federal and NSW Government initiated Bushfire Recovery Sector Development fund. 

Grants from this fund must be matched on a dollar for dollar basis by successful applicants.

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud and Senator for New South Wales Jim Molan made the announcement on Monday of last week, which will see 26 industry projects within the Eden-Monaro electorate worth a total of $56,064,164 come to fruition. 

The projects in Eden-Monaro are among 49 industry projects jointly funded by the Australian and New South Wales Governments. 

Mount Tumbarumba Vineyard’s More Than A Vision project will support the growth of Mount Tumbarumba Vineyard through the construction of an energy-efficient, contemporary cellar door to enable local agritourism experiences and to expand direct to consumer sales and the construction of two boutique accommodation spaces adjoining the cellar door.

Ms Yates said they have been working with Light House Architecture and Science for the last 12 months on the design of the cellar door, boutique accommodation and a residence on their Jarvis Lane property.

“This grant, which will assist with the commercial component of the development, gives us the confidence to proceed,” Ms Yates said.

“At the moment, we are waiting on the development application to be approved. We would like to see construction commence early in 2021.”

The development will add to the critical mass of cellar doors in the Tumbarumba region and will provide boutique bed and breakfast accommodation for visitors. 

“Developments such as this are critical to building the reputation of the region as a high-end wine tourism destination,” Ms Yates said.

This photo shows where the bushfires came down to the Mount Tumbarumba Vineyard fence line.

“The cellar door and accommodation will be complemented by extensive landscaping and the development will also include a small commercial kitchen to provide café style food.”

The project will include the fit-out of a small commercial kitchen to enable on-site café / function catering and  a leasable space for other businesses. There will also be a fit-out of the cellar door and accommodation spaces with elegant yet functional furnishings and the creation of a ‘captivating’ garden and landscaped area, including a petanque court, to be used for functions and to encourage guest and cellar door visitor engagement. 

Ms Yates said the grant will assist them to create a very special wine tourism destination that can be enjoyed both by locals and visitors to the region.

“Of course, the major loss for all the vignerons in the Tumbarumba Wine Region was that the whole harvest was lost because of smoke taint levels that were up to 200 times the acceptable level for winemaking,” she said.

“Some of us -Mount Tumbarumba Vineyard included – also lost all of their 2019 crop in a freak summer hailstorm, so this grant, and others received by vignerons of the region, including the Tumbarumba Vignerons Association, are uplifting and will keep the wine industry well and truly alive in the region.”

Snowy Valleys Council Mayor James Hayes welcomed the funding announcement saying, “It will be a huge boost to the Snowy Valleys region and provide a much-needed economic stimulus for fire impacted local industry and growers.”

“The Snowy Valleys region was successful in receiving backing for half of the 26 projects funded in the Eden-Monaro electorate which is a fantastic result,” Clr Hayes said.

Council’s 2020-21 Advocacy Plan focuses on partnerships for growth and recovery and Mayor Hayes said the funding announcement was a demonstration of Council’s commitment to working with the government and advocating for community and industry support.

The council provided letters of support and application assistance for many of the local submissions and was also successful in securing funding for three of its priority projects; $480,000 for Upgrade of the Wondalga Road Timber Link; $3.95M for itinerant worker accommodation in Batlow; and $12.5M for upgrades to the Tumut Aerodrome to increase the capacity for fire-fighting operations and options for Air Ambulance flights.

“Council continues to advocate on behalf of our community and we are proud of the inroads made so far,” Clr Hayes said. 

“Congratulations to all those who have been successful.”

This was the first of two rounds of BCRRF funding and Council is currently making inroads into applications for round two, including four joint council recovery projects endorsed at the October 29 Ordinary Council meeting.

Federal Member for Eden-Monaro, Kristy McBain, described the ideas and vision coming from bushfire impacted communities across the electorate as “inspiring”  and she said she is “delighted to see Government investment flowing.”

“Last week’s funding announcements around local economic recovery by Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud are welcome and come at a critical time,” Mrs McBain said. 

“Twenty-six industry packages were announced totalling $56 million; it’s the start of what needs to be ongoing, sustained support for local jobs and businesses that have been rocked by drought, fires, floods and the pandemic.

“Communities have been holding their breath for this news and have shown such power in their collective support for each other. This funding will lift spirits as we approach the first anniversary of our Black Summer and importantly give people a positive focus headed into 2021,” she said. 

Along with Mount Tumbarumba Vineyard, there are a range of other beneficiaries spread right across the Snowy Valleys region. 

“I’ve been really proud to advocate for and advance the interests of these industries and communities with Minister Littleproud, and he has answered the call and I believe appreciates that this is just the start,” Ms McBain said. 

“Some businesses have missed out in this round and some are scratching their heads after being told they weren’t eligible.

“My focus now shifts to supporting those businesses and industries with future grant rounds; we need to ensure more money flows quickly and seamlessly to the people who need it.

“In the midst of Covid-19, we need to make sure our bushfire impacted communities aren’t forgotten.”

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