Thousands flock to Berry's South Coast Food and Wine Festival 2019

Cupitt's Winery are among many exhibitors who want to come back in 2020 and help the South Coast Food and Wine Festival grow.

After spending the weekend in Berry for the inaugural festival, the family behind Cupitt's Winery described Saturday as fantastic and look forward to seeing the festival evolve as a showcase for the region and its produce.

Within the first hour on Saturday the Berry Showground was a sea of people soaking up fine weather and good local wine, food and beer.

Co-organiser Sam Tooley said 4000 people attended on Saturday which exceeded his expectations for the first day. But Sunday was much quieter with around 1800 people coming through the gates.

A walk around the festival at Midday on Saturday.

Mr Tooley said the first task will be to review what worked and didn't work as well as all the feedback before planning something bigger and better next year.

"We had a lot of great feedback from the stakeholders on Saturday. Some of the vendors were doing triple re-stocks. They were going through three times as much as they thought they were going to. But Sunday was a lot slower. And people only passed through for an hour or two. They didn't settle in for the long haul like they did on Saturday".

A walk through the Slow Food South Coast pavilion

Mr Tooley said there were many lessons to learn and that is the secret to building something that will be great for the whole region.

"All in all it is definitely a success. You can see there is an appetite there. For a first year event to get close to the 6000 mark is quite an achievement. But I did want 6000 or more".

"Will we change things? Definitely. The process of doing an event from startup is to take on board the things that worked, take on board things that could be done better and take on board the things that didn't work. There were not many of those.

"The overall feel is positive and we will start engaging all the stakeholders in the next couple of weeks. And then start plotting a course to make it bigger and better in 2020".

Mr Tooley said the fact there was no vacancies within 20 kilometres of the festival on Friday and Saturday night showed just how many visitors it drew to the region.

Queues form at many wine, beer and food tents on Saturday

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This story Thousands flock to Berry's food and wine festival first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.