Lovedale Long lunch organisers introduce changes for 2018 event

Organisers of next weekend’s Lovedale Long Lunch are urging attendees not to pre-load or drink too much between venues to ensure a safe and fun event.

Emma’s Cottage co-owner Therese Kramer said the participating wineries – Allandale, Emma's Cottage, Gartelmann, Saltire, Sandalyn, Tatler and Wandin – had made a few tweaks to the event following consultation with police after last year’s long lunch.

The bar at Wandin Valley was closed early in 2017 due to a small number of misbehaved people. Ms Kramer said organisers were “very mindful” of that ahead of this year’s two-day event.

“It’s really important we make sure it is the best it can be in the safest way possible,” she said.

“Lovedale Long Lunch has run for 25 years this year, I’d like to think it will be around for another 25 years and for that to happen we have to make some changes.

  • Check out all the Lovedale pics from the past two years: 2017 and 2016

“A lot of what we’ve put in place is to make a safer event for everybody. We’re trying to eliminate that small minority of people [who cause trouble].”

Ms Kramer said police had told organisers that excessive drinking in between venues needed to stop, and that bus checks could occur.

“There are a small number who arrive that have had quite a lot to drink,” she said. 

“We’re trying to steer people away from that.”

All participating venues will also have at least one wine available that contains less than 10 per cent alcohol.

Bottle sales will be cut off at 2pm. A limit of one bottle or four glasses per person will be available until 2pm, then it will be a limit of two glasses per sale afterwards. 

Takeaway sales will only be available after 3pm.

A lockout has also been introduced for the Saturday, meaning punters will have to be in their last venue of the day before 3pm.

Ms Kramer also wanted to remind bus groups of the 15 tonne limit at Gillies Bridge on Wilderness Road, where upgrades are being completed.

Despite the changes, Ms Kramer said she was confident of another successful, fun event this year.

Lovedale Long Lunch at Wandin Valley in 2016. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Lovedale Long Lunch at Wandin Valley in 2016. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

“We have some very dedicated long lunchers,” she said. “Most people have a lovely time and are just delightful to have around.

She said they weren’t aiming to sell out the event, so that attendees could enjoy a comfortable, relaxed environment at all venues.

Ms Kramer said there had been a lot of interest in the Sunday this year and that the age range of ticket holders had also increased.

“Sunday is like a different event,” she said. “It’s normally an older crowd and a really chilled, laid back day.”

“The numbers this year are really good. There’s certainly something for everyone.”

Tickets are on sale at

This story Changes necessary for a safe Long Lunch | photos first appeared on The Maitland Mercury.