Locals and visitors will have a new meeting place to enjoy the harvest of the Harcourt Valley, with the opening of the new Harcourt Produce and General Store today thanks to support from the Andrews Labor Government.

Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards today opened the new store, which has transformed from a newsagency and general store into a modern facility showcasing regional produce and wine to visitors.

“The new Harcourt Produce and General Store will showcase the best produce from the Harcourt region. It will be a whole new experience – a café and wine bar; craft beer and cider on tap; and specialty coffee.”

“The owners will create authentic food from the local region with ingredients from their kitchen garden and local producers. They also have their own range of preserves and smoked goods, all made in-house,” Ms Edwards said.

This exciting venture has been supported by a $10,000 investment from the Labor Government through the third round of the Wine Growth Fund.

The store has been closed for 18 months after Harcourt resident and Chef Annette Larsen Rae purchased the building and set about creating a modern and inviting visitor experience, showcasing the high-quality local produce and wine from the valley at the foothills of Mount Alexander.

“Our doors will be open from the 31st of August 2019 and we’re looking forward to welcoming both local residents and visitors to the region. We have so much to share with you,” said Ms Larsen Rae.

Labor Government investment has supported the establishment of a Wine Hub, which will provide a vertically integrated offering of Harcourt Valley wines, both as a cellar door and online.

This Wine Hub project promotes collaboration between regional wine producers and aims to increase the awareness of Harcourt Valley Wines.  It will enable small local wineries who do not have their own cellar door, to promote wine directly to the public.

Since acquiring the business, Ms Larsen Rae has undertaken an extensive renovation of the building inside and out, which will see a greatly expanded offering compared to its previous life.

Ms Larsen Rae’s vision for the Harcourt Produce and General Store is to provide a new and exciting visitor experience in Harcourt, showcasing the high-quality local produce and wine from the region.

The Wine Hub will include a physical platform for a regional wine club with its own tasting room, offering a mix of educational and wine appreciation aspects.  It will also offer an e-commerce platform to facilitate online and export sales.

“We’re proud to support local communities to reach their potential and Annette Larson Rae has done a fantastic job transforming this store into a warm and inviting café, general store and wine bar, where locals and visitors alike will share in countless good times.”

“The Harcourt Produce and General Store takes the concept of a place to gather and share in good local food and wine to the next level, with the establishment of the Wine Hub.  The Hub will provide flow-on benefits to other local businesses across the valley.”

“Victoria is celebrated internationally for its rich food and wine industries.  This project cements Harcourt as a food and wine destination.”

Posted by:Maree Edwards MP