The excellent combination of oysters and wine drew crowds to Cassegrain Wines for an afternoon of fun and feasting on Saturday January 13.
The annual ‘Oysters in the Vines’ was a tasty blend of great food and drink, plus live music and relaxation under the trees.
It was the twelfth year of the family day, which showcases the vineyard’s wines as well as great local produce from our region. The festival has a special emphasis on oysters, as the Hastings is home to the Sydney Rock Oyster.
At the oysters and wine masterclass, you could learn how to pair the two. Greg Sheens from West Wyalong was thoroughly enjoying the experience.
“It’s fantastic, really good. It’s very informative. And who doesn’t like oysters and wine?” he said, with a smile.
Food-lovers sampled a range of oysters – dressed or undressed - from local suppliers Armstrong Oysters and Tunstead Oysters. Owner David Tunstead said the secret to a good oyster was lot of time and care, and a clean river.
“We’re doing freshly-shucked oysters from the Camden Haven and Hastings rivers. Our area is blessed with pristine, good conditions. ‘Oysters in the Vines’ showcases a quality product which is unique around the world,” he said.
Mark Bulley from Cassegrains said the masterclasses throw up some great questions.
“We always get one elderly gentleman who asks if it’s true that oysters are an aphrodisiac, and you know what the answer is? Yes!” he said.
Cassegrains award-winning wines were available to buy, along with local beer ‘Hops and Tales’ and a selection of honey, cheese, gourmet meats and macadamias. You could have a massage, eat street food and wander around the grounds.
Alexis Jade and The Cedar Creek band entertained the crowds; some people brought their own picnic rugs and deckchairs. Volunteers from the Koala Hospital were raising money by raffling wine.
Local businesswoman Peta Simmons is a regular visitor and says it’s a great venue with superb produce.
“It’s also a good promotion of our area. The fact that this event is free to come to is great. A big thank you to the Cassegrain family for organising it,” she said.
Mother and daughter Alexis Williams and Tara Mesiti were having some quality time together.
“We have been here for the last couple of years. We love oysters, and it’s a great event,” said Alexis.
Phil Cassegrain was serving up beer, wine and cider, as well as frozen rosé wine, known as ‘frosé’.
“It’s going very well this year, and people are really enjoying themselves,” he said.