CENTRAL Victorian wineries are looking forward to an fresh income source as they welcome their first cellar door visitors in months.
Wineries are among those granted permission to re-open hospitality facilities under eased restrictions implemented on Monday.
Many see the upcoming Queens Birthday long weekend as an chance for visitors to enjoy their offerings.
It comes as a relief after the pandemic restrictions cut off many wine growers' income sources.
Heathcote Wine Growers Association president Ian Hopkins said it was a real positive for the group's members to open cellar doors, as closures had shut down many sales avenues.
It comes ahead of the long weekend, traditionally a "massive" one for tourism in the region with the Heathcote Show.
Mr Hopkins said wine growers were embracing the re-opening.
"It's positive news and wine growers are by nature positive individuals, as are most farmers," he said.
"They have to deal with a lot of trials and tribulations ... They've worked through the challenges of this isolation and the shutdown of markets."
For Mr Hopkins himself the change means welcoming his first visitors to a newly extended cellar door operation at Tellurian winery.
"We were of course hoping to open it with a bigger bang, but it's very nice to be able to open it still this restricted fashion," Mr Hopkins said.
"We'll have the opportunity to put it through its paces in the first instance."
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Many Bendigo wineries also planned to re-open aspects of their business.
Byronsvale Vineyard and Accommodation owner Denise Langford said the lifted restrictions would help the business to survive, after months without cash flow.
Ms Langford's business will re-open its restored stone stable accommodation this weekend, where it offers tastings.
She also plans to open a pop-up cellar door style wine bar near the property's front gate in the next few weeks.
Ms Langford said business had ground to a halt after COVID-19 restrictions shut down trading. She said they had to let staff go, minimise expenses and sit tight.
During the shutdown the business has kept making wine, and restoring its 50 year old vineyard.
Ms Langford said the extra venue would allow the winery to sell its produce to a broader market.
"We're really looking forward to getting back to what we do best, which is welcoming people so they can enjoy this little slice of paradise," she said.
Wineries have recommended prospective cellar door customers call ahead to check whether venues are open.
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