Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Summer is wine and food festival time and we have some great choices in the top of the south.

Last weekend we had the annual Sarau Festival at Upper Moutere while the week before the good folk in the ‘bay’ delivered the first Golden Bay Cultural Food and Wine Festival and by all accounts it was a glowing success.

I was lucky enough to be at the very first Marlborough Wine Festival more than 25 years ago and in that time New Zealand’s longest running festival has evolved to meet the changing desires of both attendees and the booming wine industry in the region, the whole time maintaining the relaxed and fun atmosphere that makes the festival so special.

This year’s Wine Marlborough Festival will be held at the Brancott Estate vineyards, same site we have all become familiar with over the years, on Saturday 13th February. Tickets for this festival are strictly limited but if you go to their website you may still be in luck – http://www.wine-marlborough-festival.co.nz/ . Tickets are about $48

Much closer to home the following weekend (11am, Sunday 21st February) the Rotary Club of Richmond hosts the Brightwater Wine and Food Festival. This event has grown each year and become an important date on the wine calendar in Nelson. Tickets are $20 if you get one from Everyman in Nelson or Specsavers in Richmond Mall but $25 if you buy one at the gate. Kids under 12 get in free. Go to http://www.bwff.co.nz/ for lots more information, especially to check out the bus timetable.

If you happen to be in Auckland on the same weekend as the Brightwater festival don’t panic, the Rotary Club of Devonport is also hosting their annual two day wine and food festival (http://www.devonportwinefestival.co.nz/)

Festivals are not only a great day out but for the wine aficionado they are also a good place to taste a wide range of current release wines, as well as a few special treats many of the wineries bring out on the day.

If you want to learn a bit about wine then it is also a good time to find out about different styles of wine by comparing the many styles made by this region’s producers.

On top of all this Nelson Wineart is also hosting the tri-annual Aromtaics Symposium at the Upper Moutere Recreation Centre. This symposium has attracted many of the world’s elite wine writers including Judy Sarris (editor of Australian Gourmet Traveller) and the highly regarded and influential Oz Clarke, Matthew Jukes and top producers of aromatic wine styles from Alsace and Australia.

Unfortunately seats at this event sold out weeks ago but don’t fret I promise to tell you about the treats you missed out on.

So many choices – so little time!!

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