Comm Games organisers under fire over wine

Row of vintage wine bottlesQueensland winemakers are angry their drops won’t be showcased at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, but organisers have assured local wines will still be on the menu.

Current Australian winemaker of the year Mike Hayes, from Symphony Hill Wines on the Granite Belt, said local wineries couldn’t afford to pay for the sponsorship deals sought by organisers.

“There was four of five wineries that were approached and they just said it is impossible for them to afford that,” Hayes told ABC radio on Monday.

Hayes said it would have been “lovely” if the government had funded relief packages so the wineries could be games sponsors.

“We require a stage up there with the southerners because we aren’t just as good, we’re better,” he said.

The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) chief executive Mark Peters said no overall wine sponsor had been chosen and there was still time.

“We don’t have a major sponsor for wine, and we’d be happy to keep those conversations going,” Peters told reporters on Sunday. “Queensland wines will be served during the games because we know the caterers have got those deals.”

Peters explained games sponsorship was a separate issue to the wine caterers have chosen to serve. Queensland Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington hit out at the situation.

“I think it’s devastating for the wine industry in Queensland,” she told ABC radio.

In a statement to AAP, GOLDOC said organisers were also focused on giving customers value for money.

“It is important that quality and choice are also matched by value for money and affordability, ensuring there are affordable options for all customers of the Games,” the spokesman told AAP.

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