Minya by Moonlight

Subscribe to Forte Magazine

Minya by Moonlight

The Minya by Moonlight concert series is about to begin its 16th season at the Minya Winery in Connewarre, just outside of Torquay, and owner Jeff Dans tells me it will be one of their biggest yet. “The feedback that I’ve had so far for all of the artists has been great. People are very much looking forward to them and they’ve said this is one of the best series we’ve had in a long time as far as performers go,” Jeff smiles.
The series involves a total of five concerts, running on selected weekends from the end of January through to March. Kicking it all off on January 24 will be Melbourne jazz legend Pippa Wilson, who originally played at one of the first-ever series 15 years ago. “We’ve had Pippa back about three times. We had her out close to the start of things. She’s a very professional performer and has a great rapport with the audience,” assures Jeff.
The other artists that will be performing include internationally recognised bluegrass/folk band The Stetson Family on Saturday, February 7; vocal wonders Coco’s Lunch will be playing on February 21; and UK-based Ken Nichol will bring along his Dixie Chooks to play a host of blues, rock and jazz on March 7 – and there has already been plenty of buzz around that show.
“The chap, Ken Nichol, we’ve had several calls saying how disappointed they are that they can’t commit to that evening. It’s interesting that people would call so far out. I had a guy call all the way from South Australia and he was most annoyed that he couldn’t make the concert,” Jeff laughs. The UK’s London Klezmer Quartet will finish off the series on March 15 with their infamous folk melodies.
The Minya Winery is one of the most beautiful of the region, with the winery and vineyard located on a picturesque billabong – and the amphitheatre is no exception. “It holds 200-250 people, fronting the billabong. It’s a very sheltered area, especially from the prevailing winds. It’s a very comfortable spot, terraced so that everyone has a good view of the stage,” Jeff says.
“We have wine and beer available at very reasonable prices, and for the food, we have hampers that need to be ordered in advance. People are more than welcome to bring their own hamper or picnic basket, but no BYO drinks.”
If you’re worried about any lingering nasty weather, the Minya is 100 per cent prepared and have a very structured backup plan. “The show goes on regardless. On very few occasions we’ve had to move everything inside, but if push comes to shove, it only takes us a little while to move everyone inside and continue the evening,” Jeff says.
In terms of wine, there really is something for everyone. The winery has been in operation now for just over 40 years after being established in 1974 by Jeff and his wife Sue. They grow a number of different grapes on five acres of their property and produce some of the best drops in the country.
“There’s quite a variety for such a small area. We have blends, varietals, both red and white,” he says. “Our Cabernet and Grenache would be the most popular, and in the white, the Gewurztraminer.”
The Minya by Moonlight series begins on January 24 on selected weekends until March 15. For tickets visit the GPAC website at gpac.org.au or call them on 5225 1200