Top quality, unique taste

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 13:16 05/02/2013
Francesca Pechenino
Emma Allen

Event asissant organisers Francesca Pechenino and Becky Wiford.

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This weekend's Marlborough Wine and Food Festival would be like the region's top wine variety, festival committee chairman Tim Crawford said yesterday - top quality, with unique flavours.

The festival, celebrating its 29th year on Saturday, will host about 8000 people, 60 wineries, three MasterChef champions, celebrity chef Al Brown and some of the country's top foodies, as well as entertainers Avalanche City and others.

Two mystery guests had also been confirmed.

Mr Crawford would not be drawn on who these guests were but said Saturday's festival was set be the best yet.

"No region in the world has been able to produce the sauvignon blanc we come up with here, and we want the festival to be a celebration of this," he said.

"We want a festival that, like our wine, is top quality, with flavours that are completely unique."

Organisers had reviewed comprehensive market research from previous years and, although feedback was overwhelmingly positive, they had made key improvements, Mr Crawford said.

More shade and seating would be provided, and there would be more emphasis on celebrating the region's wine. Additional workshops and tutorials promised to entertain as well as educate, and there would be more artisan food exhibitors than ever before.

The research, conducted by an independent firm, also revealed strong economic spin-offs from the festival, with 60 per cent of attendees from outside the region. About 20 per cent were from Canterbury and 12 per cent were from overseas - predominantly Australia and Britain.

On average, they stayed for 3.1 days and each contributed $911.40 to the region's economy.

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- The Marlborough Express

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