Opening with pals and wine

KAT PICKFORD
Last updated 06:57 04/02/2013
Caitlin Tiller
Derek Flynn

Amigo's and Vino's promo. Isobel Wines Caitlin Tiller and Ruth Thompson

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The organisers of the new Amigos and Vinos festival at Isabel Estate Vineyard near Blenheim hope it will become an annual event.

Isabel sales and marketing team Caitlin Tiller and Ruth Thompson organised the event, held this Friday, to entertain the visitors and tradespeople the night before the Marlborough Food and Wine Festival.

"It's going to be a big 48 hours," said Miss Tiller, whose parents Robyn and Michael Tiller started up the the family-owned and operated wine business 30 years ago.

The R18 festival is to be a relaxed evening of comedy and dance held on the estate's park-like surrounds in Hawkesbury Rd, Renwick.

Performances by Marlborough songstress Sarah Brown and Auckland dance funk group Sola Rosa will be accompanied by performances from comedians Steve Wrigley, Jeremy Elwood and Michele A'Court.

Sarah Brown plans to play a mix of old songs, some from her album The Great Heart Robbery, and some new songs she has penned since moving back to Marlborough. "It's such a stunning venue, I'm really looking forward to it," she said.

Transport has been organised at a cost of $5 return, with Countdown Redwoodtown, Blenheim and Springlands the pick-up and drop-off points.

Beer, wine, non-alcoholic beverages and food are all available for purchase at the venue, although the organisers hope people will bring picnics, rugs and picnic chairs to relax on the grass.

Mrs Thompson said they wanted to support and complement, not compete with, the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival.

"There are lots of people who are working the wine and food festival, so this is for them to enjoy, as much as entertain visitors to the region," she said.

Miss Tiller said this is the pair's first go at organising an event of this scale, although the food and beverage industry is awash with "boozing and schmoozing".

Ticket sales have been "positive", particularly in the last couple of weeks, although Marlburians are notorious for waiting until the last minute to buy tickets, she said.

It appears the weather is one aspect that festival-goers and event organisers will not have to worry about this weekend.

Tickets cost $39 and are available from the Marlborough Floor Pride Civic Theatre or www.ticketdirect.co.nz

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- Marlborough

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