Click for Vic: A taste of the regions without leaving home

Living Well | Wendy Hargreaves | Posted on 21 September 2020

Visit Victoria initiative brings the best of the state's regional produce to your door.

While those in locked down Melbourne might not be able to hit the open road for a while yet, the good news is we can still indulge in one of the great pleasures of a regional road trip – exploring new tastes and charming wares from Victoria’s artisanal producers and makers.  

Rich Glen Olive Estate fresh produce and olive oil

Rich Glen Olive Estate. Photo: Tourism Victoria

From small-batch gin distilled in Gippsland to first-press extra virgin olive oil from the banks of the Murray River, it’s all just a click away thanks to Visit Victoria’s Click for Vic initiative. 

Devised to boost sales for struggling small businesses hit hard by the back-to-back catastrophes of bushfires and a global pandemic, the portal is delivering online orders and messages of support for producers, restaurants, cafes, fashion brands and retail outlets in both metropolitan and regional areas.

Purveyors without their own dedicated e-commerce set-up can sell through the Click for Vic site via online delivery hubs including Victorian Country Market, which represents 250 regional producers and makers. And homebound hedonists reap the benefits with the best Victoria has to offer, delivered to the doorstep. 

There are myriad reasons to Click for Vic, whether you’re hankering for small-batch roasted coffee from the high country, a clay face mask from Peninsula Hot Springs, or just want to do your bit to ensure Victoria’s best small businesses make it through to the other side. Here are just a few... 

Person pouring gin into tasting paddle
Loch Brewery and Distillery gin bottles

Loch Brewery & Destillery. Photos: Tourism Victoria.

Five delicious reasons to click for Victoria 

Loch Brewery & Distillery

A couple’s love affair with single malt whisky has given the South Gippsland hamlet of Loch one of Australia’s most unique businesses.

Craig Johnson and Mel Davies created Loch Brewery and Distillery just six years ago, but the business already feels like an old soul. The cellar door inhabits a century-old bank building, while the small-batch beers and spirits are created in an old butchery next door. 

Unashamedly old school, the couple’s hand-made beers, gins, whiskies and rums are usually snapped up by high-end restaurants and bars across the state. COVID-19 restrictions put an end to that in March, but online sales are keeping them afloat.

“It’s been fantastic to get so much support, especially from locked down Melbourne,” says Craig. “It’s really helped us.

“I think people understand that we only release something that we’re happy to sit down and drink ourselves. When we think they’re ready, and they’re at their optimum, we’ll release them.

“It’s old-fashioned and you can’t get the same volume out, but it’s how we like it, and it’s a lot more fun.”

The couple’s gin is a favourite in the bar and restaurant at the nearby RACVs Inverloch Resort, where executive chef Rohan McCullagh has also used the spirit in his menu.

“It’s wonderful to have that sort of local support,” says Craig. “When people are staying at the resort, guests come and visit us to tell us how they enjoyed our gin at the bar looking out over the water. The resort serves a lot of local produce, which is great because it encourages people to do more of a meander and a discovery tour on their way home.”

Add to cart

The Weaver, traditional gin incorporating Australian native botanicals: $89.

Couple standing with flock of alpacas

Creswick Woollen Mills. Photo: Shannon Morris.

Creswick Woollen Mills

While restrictions have kept visitors away from the Creswick Woollen Mills, the family behind the business has found a COVID-19 silver lining. Locked down Victorians are craving the comfort of locally made wool and alpacca blankets. 

“In fact, the mills are cutting blankets today,” says CEO Boaz Herszfeld, whose grandfather Paul Ryzowy founded the business 73 years ago in the tiny town of Creswick, near Ballarat. “We’ve been selling so many blankets in lockdown. And now that the weather’s warming up, and restrictions are easing, people are investing in picnic rugs. It’s wonderful to see.” 

Paul admits the loss of tourism and retail sales has hit the business hard, and is looking forward to welcoming back visitors from nearby RACV Goldfields Resort when it reopens later this year. In the meantime, he says the Click for Vic campaign has been a “revelation”. 

“We’re seeing that people really want to help small family businesses, and they can make a real difference by supporting us.” 

Add to cart

Billabong picnic rug: $99. 

Person dunking fresh bread into olive oil
Woman standing on step ladder in olive grove
Olives on table

Rich Glen Olive Estate. Photos: Millie Brown and Tourism Victoria.

Rich Glen Olive Estate

Before the pandemic, a daily stream of tourists visited the Vodusek family’s farm gate, Rich Glen Olive Estate, on the banks of the Murray River near Yarrawonga.

The family grows olives – a huge plantation of 36,000 Nevadillo, Manzanillo, Frantoio, Kalamata and Lecino varieties - but their real success lies in 150 food and body-care products created from their harvest, everything from bush tucker dukkah, to anti-aging face-cream. Over the years, their farm homestead has evolved into a shop and café with cooking classes, demonstrations and farm experiences.

Rather than wait for visitors to return after lockdown, Ros and Daimien Vodusek opened a new provedore in the Yarrawonga township, and beefed up their online store. Now as restrictions ease across regional Victoria, they’re planning safe ways to reopen the farm gate by appointment.

“I’m seeing a real bright side to COVID,” says Ros. “People want to know exactly where their food comes from, and who grows it.

“We took over the farm from Daimien’s dad, and have worked really hard with our four kids to keep it in the family. We’re not going anywhere.”

If you’re lucky enough to visit Rich Glen Olive Estate in person, remember to show your RACV card, as members receive a free gift on purchases over $50.

Add to cart

Smashed Olive Tapenade: $13.50.

Pt Leo Estate wine tasting room

Pt Leo Estate. Photos: Tourism Victoria.

Pt Leo Estate 

The acclaimed dining rooms and sculpture park at Pt Leo Estate are eerily silent against the sweeping backdrop of Westernport Bay.

Without the daily thrum of visitors to south-eastern tip of the Mornington Peninsula, the Gandal family's 135-hectare vineyard, sculpture park and dining complex has turned to online wine sales and a Richmond pop-up store to ride out the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Mornington Peninsula is part of metropolitan Melbourne’s stage four lockdown, which means an overnight curfew and restrictions on travel further than 5km from home. But Pt Leo Estate’s general manager, Roger Lancie is looking forward to easing restrictions which will allow visitors back to the sculpture park and eventually allow the estate’s restaurants, wine-bar and cellar door to reopen seven days a week. “It’s time to get the heartbeat back into the place,” he says. 

He also looks forward to a time when Pt Leo Estate wines can be poured again for people at bars and restaurants across Victoria. When able to reopen again, RACV Cape Schanck Resort serves Pt Leo Estate wines in its restaurants.

Add to cart

Pt Leo Estate three pack including a bottle each of Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Rose: $110.

Bells Beach Brewing
Close up of Bells Beach Brewing tinnies

Bells Beach Brewing. Photos: Tourism Victoria.

Bells Beach Brewing 

Tucked away in an industrial estate behind Torquay’s surf-gear outlets, Bells Beach Brewing is a beer lover’s oasis on the Great Ocean Road. And like any good surfing story, it all started with two mates drinking beer at a Surf Coast pub.

Expat Brits Adam Smith and Jono Mostrop decided to combine their love of local surf breaks and handcrafted beer, applying their skills as car engineers to create a brewery. After six years of brewing without a permanent home, the pair opened their taproom in 2018, a quirky balance of craft beer grunge and coastal cool.

With the easing of restrictions across regional Victoria, the taproom has tentatively opened with safely distanced bookings. 

As a small-batch brewer, Bells Beach beer is usually only sold locally, including at RACV Torquay Resort, but now it’s available for home delivery via Click for Vic. 

Add to cart

Mixed can six-pack with your selection of brews: $25.