Marlborough Wine and Food Festival a roaring success
The biggest party in Marlborough did not disappoint, with thousands enjoying the wine, food and music on offer at the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival.
The combination of live music, brilliant sunshine and wine and food from the top producers in the region created a festive atmosphere that delighted the capacity crowd gathered at the Brancott Estate festival site.
Wine Marlborough events assistant Spring Webb said she was pleased with the way the event had turned out, gesturing to the happy crowd as proof of its success.
"The whole Marlborough community has come together and done what they do best," she said.
"Everybody has just smashed it."
Tickets to the festival, which has a capacity of around 8000 people, sold out on the day, with many patrons travelling to the region from other parts of New Zealand and around the world.
Viorela Metesan, from Romania, said she had been living in Denmark, where it was hard to find Marlborough wine.
This was not a problem at the festival, which had stalls for more than 50 different Marlborough wineries, as well as 30 foodstalls, selling everything from Cloudy Bay Clams to gourmet burgers.
"I'm in heaven," Metesan said.
Sebastian Smith and Lindsey Korson, from Michigan, both worked in a restaurant in the United States that sold Marlborough wine.
Being able to sample different wines near the vineyards they were produced from was a special experience for the pair, Smith said.
"We've come halfway around the world to see the place that makes the wine we make our living off," he said.
Blenheim resident Bridget Charmers said the festival was one of the highlights of the year, as it showcased all the things that made Marlborough great.
Many people who moved away from the region came back for the event and they were joined by people from around the world, because of the great atmosphere, wine and food, she said.
"It brings people from all different backgrounds together."
Marisco Vineyards owner Brent Marris said the festival gave winery staff an opportunity to interact with consumers, whose positive feedback was a great source of pride.
"I've got a lot of staff that love working on the day," he said.
"It's an opportunity for them to pour glasses of wine for consumers and take pride in representing the brand."
As well as the wine, which was flowing in abundance, the festival also offered live cooking demonstrations from celebrity chefs at the culinary pavilion, which was packed for most of the day.
My Kitchen Rules Australia judge Colin Fassnidge appeared in the tent, demonstrating how to cook a liquorice-braised brisket, served with a traditional Irish dish of colcannon.
This was the second festival for Fassnidge, who said he loved coming to Marlborough because of the great produce and friendly people.
The Supreme Food and Wine Match Competition winner, which was judged by renowned New Zealand chef Peta Mathias and cheese expert Juliet Harbutt, went to La Ruca, for their Chilean burgers served with Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Gruner Veltliner 2015.
Many people gathered to eat food and drink wine in front of the main stage, where headliners Dr Sanchez, Tami Neilson, Ladi6, Tahuna Breaks and The New Entrants played throughout the day.
Neilson, who described her music as a blend of rockabilly, soul, blues and country, provided the perfect way to ease into the festival, before high energy acts Ladi6 and Tahuna Breaks got the crowd up and dancing.
Reflecting on the view from the stage, Neilson said the Wither Hills had ruined any chances she had of encountering a more beautiful performance venue.
Police, firefighters and St John ambulance staff were on hand in the event of any incidents but the crowd was mostly well behaved.
Marlborough police area commander Inspector Simon Feltham said there had only been one arrest at the festival, after a man who had been turned away for his unruly behaviour returned and was trespassed.
Following the festival, two overseas tourists were caught for driving over the limit, at a checkpoint police set up near the exit of the Brancott Estate vineyard.
A further three people were caught the following morning, with excess blood alcohol around Blenheim.
Feltham said this was disappointing, as police made no secret of the fact they would be checking drivers, however, overall, it was a quiet festival weekend.
There were a few arrests for disorderly behaviour during the celebrations following the festival, however this was regular for a Saturday night in Blenheim, Feltham said.
St John events manager Tony Cronin said ambulance staff treated 24 people during the day, making it it the quietest festival he had ever worked at.
Most of these were for minor cuts and bruises, with only four being treated for alcohol related issues, something which was compounded by the 25 degrees Celsius temperatures.
No one was taken to hospital, he said.
- The Marlborough Express