26 Nov 2022

Marlborough Wine and Food Festival to return after two-year Covid-19 hiatus

8:00 pm on 26 November 2022
A vineyard in Marlborough, near Blenheim.

File image. Photo: 123rf

The Marlborough Wine and Food Festival is returning next year in a new location, after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It will be the region's 36th festival, making it the longest running food and wine event of its kind in the country, with next year also marking 50 years since the first grapes were planted in Marlborough.

Forrest Wines general manager Beth Forrest said the festival was a way to celebrate the upcoming harvest with the wider community.

"We established here in 1988 as winery number seven in Marlborough and so we've been there pretty much from day dot continuously.

"It's a great way to show the growth of the industry and the solidarity of the industry."

The festival was also a chance for those in the industry to find out what the Kiwi wine drinker was looking for, Forrest said.

"It's different every year, some years you'll have an absolute fly on bubbles, other years it'll be a beautiful crisp, dry riesling running out the door on your stand."

Rosé that was crisp, dry, fresh and a little bit fruity continued to be in favour, she said.

"We've got a sparkling red coming out like a mimic of an Australian sparkling shiraz and that always goes down a treat so it'll be exciting to see what the flavour is this year."

Wine Marlborough general manager Marcus Pickens said a number of new wineries would also be joining the line-up of more than 30 vineyards offering a wide selection of the region's best wine.

"This is a heritage festival and we have a proven recipe for success. It will be a stellar event after a tough couple of years for the viticulture industry and wineries, chefs, caterers and bands are ready to celebrate what's special about our region - amazing wine, delicious food, and friendly people."

The event was the orginial wine and food festival, held in the heart of New Zealand's largest wine growing region, which made it somewhat of a bucket list event for wine lovers, Pickens said.

"People always uncover or learn about a new wine style they may not have tried before, everyone knows our Sauvignon Blanc of course, it's world famous. But people always come away comparing notes and thinking, gosh, I tried this wine I've never heard before."

The festival on 11 February will be at the Renwick Domain for the first time.

For more than 30 years it has been held at the Brancott Estate vineyard in Fairhall. It is also the first time the festival will be held with a cashless system.

The culinary pavilion will be returning with chefs doing cooking demonstrations, there will be food trucks offering a number of different cuisines and several stages for live entertainment.

Early bird tickets have sold out and Pickens said people coming from out of town should consider booking accommodation early as it often sold out.

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