PEOPLE have been pouring through the gates of the Strategem Bendigo Winemakers Festival.
The Bendigo Winegrowers Association had tallied over 1200 attendees by 1pm, and people were still flowing through.
Association president Wes Vine said the turnout was already much bigger than the year prior.
He believed word of mouth and repeat visitors were helping grow the event's profile.
Mr Vine said there were lots of big groups of people coming through, some of whom were celebrating special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries.
Many of the attendees had made their way to Bendigo from Melbourne, via train.
It is believed a couple that attended the inaugural festival, roughly 15 years ago, was among the first people through the gates this year.
Today has been, by all accounts, an enjoyable day in Rosalind Park. There was a selection of more than 70 wines for people to sample from, live music, and food available to purchase.
Bendigo's weather was at its best, with sunlight trickling through the trees as attendees milled about, wine glasses in hand.
But Black Estate Vineyard's Rob Black said the festival was about more than a good day out.
It was also a key opportunity for wineries to showcase their products in a broader market.
As one of a number of wineries in the Bendigo region without a cellar door, Mr Black said the festival was one of the main ways people could sample Black Estate Vineyard's wines.
"Taste is the best marketing you can have," he said.
He said recognition of the skill of Bendigo winemakers was growing.
"Our wines are consistently getting better and better," Mr Black said.
His was one of 18 wineries with a presence at today's festival.
Mr Black said the event's popularity was helped by other attractions in Bendigo, such as the Tudors to Windsors exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery.
"Bendigo has got so much going for it," Mr Black said.
Shane Gladman and his friends represented a mix of Bendigo locals and visitors from Melbourne and beyond.
It was Mr Gladman's first time attending the festival, and he and his friends seemed to be enjoying the experience.
They particularly appreciated the relaxed atmosphere and what they described to be a great variety of wine.
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