Marlburians enjoy French hospitality

A cold and overcast day didn't stop hundreds of Marlburians from joining in the Bastille Day celebrations at Clos Henri Vineyard yesterday.

The organisers had promised an authentic French experience and didn't disappoint, with fine wine, escargot, cheese and French music among the vineyards.

Clos Henri sales and marketing manager Naomi Galvin said the day had attracted far more people than last year. "It's been a great crowd - we must have seen about 100 people already [by noon]. There have been heaps of kids and lots of families, which is great," she said.

Those who turned up were treated to free escargot and wine tastings as well as horse and cart rides - all on the house. Those wanting to get a bit more into the French spirit enjoyed cheese platters and red wine.

French-born Marlborough resident Mike Veal said he loved the authentic French feel to the day. "I come every year and really enjoy it," he said.

This was only the second year that the vineyard had held an open day to celebrate the French national day, as past years had been by invite only. The decision to open it up to the public had proven to be a good one, Galvin said.

It wasn't only New Zealanders and French nationals enjoying the day, German working holidaymakers Tobias Di Fabio, Isabelle Bohle and Daniel Krauss turned out to enjoy the experience. "We have done a lot of winery tours and this one was very special. I've been to France and this is very French - very authentic," Bohle said.

Bastille Day is the name given in English-speaking countries to the French National Day, which is celebrated on July 14 each year. It commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution with the Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, as well as the Fete de la Federation which celebrated the unity of the French people on July 14, 1790.

The Marlborough Express