Heifer Station in the running for Regional Tourism Award
When Phillip and Michelle Stiven bought Heifer Station in 2009 it was a neglected, overgrown vineyard. In the nine years since, they have created a thriving winery and tourism business — so much so they were recently named a finalist in the upcoming Country and Outback Regional Tourism Awards.
“We bought this as a retirement block and we were going to push the grapes out,” said Philip, a former farmer and real estate agent who never expected to find himself in the roll of a vigneron.
The 45 acres of vines had been left unattended for five years and it took a lot of hard work before the Stiven’s produced their first vintage in 2012, from three tonnes of grapes.
He and Michelle had planned to run a few head of cattle and enjoy the surrounds of the beautiful 130 acre property they had long admired, but other local growers convinced them the vines were worth saving.
“I kept running into these people in the main street and they'd say it is a fantastic block out there, it is a great vineyard and, anyway, after about half a dozen of those we thought, oh well, we'll give it a go instead of pushing them all out,” said Phillip. “And they were right! It is fantastic block of land and a great vineyard.”
Heifer Station’s wine production has grown rapidly every year since. Phillip has even planted another 20 acres of vines and 85 tonnes of grapes went into their 2018 vintage.
The couple’s hard work has been recognised and they now find themself worthy finalists in the Country and Outback Regional Tourism Awards. Other finalists include: Lakeview Luxury Retreat, Orange Ex-Services’ Club, Orange F.O.O.D Week, the Orange Visitor Information Centre, and The Age of Fishes Museum in Canowindra. The award ceremony will take place Saturday 28 July, at The Greenhouse in Orange.
For more on Heifer Station, read ‘Neglected then, blossoming now!’ in Orange City Life on July 26.