WHEN J J McWilliam established the first vine plantings in the Riverina he had great hopes for the future.
One hundred years later, in a fitting tribute to the legacy of local wine industry pioneers and the water that made it possible, Griffith’s Wine and Irrigation Building was officially opened at Pioneer Park Museum.
The impressive addition was unveiled on Sunday, with around 400 people turning out to get the first glimpse inside the building, which provides both exhibitions and space to hold functions.
Together, Griffith mayor John Dal Broi, Murrumbidgee Irrigation chairman Gillian Kirkup, Wine Grape Marketing Board chairman Bruno Brombal and McWilliam’s Wines chairman Doug McWilliam cut four coloured ribbons to declare the building open.
The white ribbon represented peace, blue the water and green and purple the wine and grapes.
Pioneer Park Museum acting-manager Javier Terrazas said the new exhibit would be an incredible asset for the city.
“It showcases a major industry and the importance of irrigation in this region,” he said.
“It’s designed not just as an exhibition space, it’s also for education and research.
“It goes to show the vision that our pioneers had and it celebrates the hard work they put in to create companies that are among the best in the world.”
Mr Terrazas thanked the sponsors including McWilliam’s, who made the initial donation to establish the building, Casella Wines, Wine Grapes Marketing Board, De Bortoli Wines, Warburn Estate, Westend Estate, A and G, Murrumbidgee Irrigation, Toorak Wines, Lillypilly Estate and Zappacosta Wines.
It was a massive weekend for the McWilliam family, who wrapped up their own celebrations by unveiling a special plaque commemorating the pioneering efforts of J J McWilliam at Pioneer Park Museum just before the opening of the Wine and Irrigation Building.
Members of the public are now welcome to visit the Wine and Irrigation Building.