Wineries unite for region’s first rose event

Vasse MP Libby Mettam and Rustico owner Vanessa Phillipson.
Vasse MP Libby Mettam and Rustico owner Vanessa Phillipson.

A number of wineries have joined forces to hold the region’s first rose festival bringing together music, food and of course, wine.

Rustico owner Vanessa Phillipson was the brainchild behind the event with the idea stemming from fond memories she had of Amberley’s seafood and semillon weekend.

“It was just such an awesome event,” she said.

“It was on at such a tough time of year, children had always just gone back to school and it was hard for mums and dads to organise, but people from Perth used to come down in droves on a Saturday.

“There would be 500 to 800 people at Amberley. Since that stopped I felt like there has not been anything else like it and we want to fill that gap.”

Ms Phillipson is no stranger to hosting large scale events, she was also the brainchild behind Perth’s only long table lunch on a beach.

Besides running the restaurant at Hayshed Hill, she is also the owner of Rockingham’s famed tapas bar Rustico and was responsible for bringing 500 people to lunch on the beach. 

“Rockingham has quite an interesting view from the rest of the world, compared to the people who live there, it has quite a big bogan tag so we really wanted to flip it,” she said.

“We sold tickets to 500 people and really changed everyone’s point of view, we were the only people doing a long table lunch on a beach in a metro area at anytime during the year.”

Seven-piece Brazilian band Sambalicious have been secured for the rose event, and are well known throughout WA for bringing a party-like atmosphere.

“We also have Mandy B who is a well known DJ down here to kick the day off, then Sambalicious to finish and really get everyone having fun,” Ms Phillipson said.

“The more the merrier.”

Since the event has been advertised other wineries in the region have been in touch with Ms Phillipson to get involved, and she hopes to grow the event over the coming years.

“If we can build it over two days next year and involve more Margaret River roses we absolutely will.”

Vasse MP Libby Mettam said it was great to see wineries collaborating together to hold the event and saw it as the future of taking the region to the next level in terms of tourism.

With the airport runway almost complete, Ms Mettam said it was essential for airlines to be able to fill planes flying into the region and that the region needed to work on “growing the pie.”

“That is why this event is fantastic for the region and showcases the flavour of the month, which is rose. Hopefully it will become a new tradition for the region.”