Wine festival brought to life on big screen

Marlborough film-maker Paul Davidson has recorded the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival’s
history in a 50-minute ...
Angela Crompton

Marlborough film-maker Paul Davidson has recorded the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival’s history in a 50-minute documentary.

Undercover ploys to promote the Marlborough garlic industry by flavouring some Marlborough wines with the bulbous herb are among secrets revealed in a new documentary film.

Vintage Marlborough by Marlborough film-maker Paul Davidson and Wellington researcher Barbara Gibb provides a 50-minute insight into the people who had the "courage and the party spirit" to raise the region's wine brands with an annual, day-long wine and food festival.

The documentary will have its premiere screening in Blenheim tomorrow night, three days before the 31st Marlborough Wine and Food Festival is held at Brancott Estate near Blenheim.

Davidson said inspiration for the documentary came after he made a brief video clip to promote last year's 30th festival. He decided to make a film that would record the history of the festival for public archives, pay tribute to its pioneers and be an entertaining, enjoyable story for people to watch on television.

No broadcasting contracts had been signed this week, but Davidson was confident there would be interest.

"Good stories find their market."

Gibb gathered background for the film by interviewing early winegrowers, studying archives kept in museums and collecting personal records from people who were involved. There were many fun stories, like the one told by Marlborough mayor Alistair Sowman, who recounts how the region's garlic growers made an early-morning, garlic-cloves air drop over the festival grounds. It was hoped that as festival-goers arrived and tramped through the cloves, the herb would be crushing into the ground, emitting an aroma thereafter linked with enjoyable wines.

Davidson works from a small, green shed studio behind the Argosy plane he owns and displays opposite the Blenheim Airport. He has been making films since 1982 and earlier titles include a Safe Air documentary The Final Flight, a 2011 film about Hospice Marlborough and the 2013 Past Forward, the history of south Brisbane.

Davidson divides his time between his home at Woodbourne and Brisbane, where he completed a Masters degree in film-making at Griffiths University. This year he hopes to complete a doctorate there in visual arts.

Vintage Marlborough will be screened at 7pm tomorrow at Top Town Cinemas, Blenheim.

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 - The Marlborough Express

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