What a day, what a festival!

17:51, Feb 11 2013
Wine festival
Home time: Grabbing a bus back to Blenheim
Wine festival 91
Waiting for a ride at 6pm closing time.
Wine festival 89
6pm, leaving the festival in a happy mood
wine festival 86
Happy crowds
Enjoying The Ned and Marisco wines
Astrolabe and Seresin Wines
Natalie MacDonald and Laura Scott
Natalie MacDonald and Laura Scott
Wine festival 79
Police keep an eye on the crowd
Wine Festival
Wellington International Ukelele Orchestra entertained the large crowd
The Wellington International Ukelele Orchestra
The Wellington International Ukelele Orchestra
Lee Davis
Lee Davis gets a good cooling off from the scorching heat
Spy Valley
Spy Valley Wines
Mary Leslie
Mary Leslie, Kate Harper, Andrea Forrest outside the Greywacke and Dog Point wines tents.
Dog Point Wines
Tohu Wines
Jackson Estate Wines
Jackson Estate Wines
Olivia Klein and Carla Runge
Olivia Klein and Carla Runge eating a Hungarian bread.
Brett Taylor
Brett Taylor, Anton James, Michelle James, Maree Taylor.
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Cooling time in the creek
Avalanche City
Avalanche City playing their set.
Avalanche City
Dancing to Avalanche City
Jason Yank
Winners of the best site : Astrolabe with Jason Yank, Jane Forrest and Simon Waghorn
Beck Hill
Supreme wine and food match went to Beck Hill from Figaro's Cafe and Stephanie MacIntyre from Cloudy Bay Wines. Presented by Chelsea Winter
Wine Festival 48
People come from all over the world to attend the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival
John Susman
John Susman serving up some tasty, fresh Cloudy Bay Clams to Kathryn Ulma from Alberta, Canada.
New Entrants band
New Entrants band
Loth Chrisiani and Philippe Pop
Loth Chrisiani and Philippe Pop keeping cool
Kalita Cresswell and Anders Petersen
Kalita Cresswell tops up, Anders Petersen
Hunters Wines
Keeping cool outside Hunters Wines
marlborough Security Officers
marlborough Security Officers: Tasi and Epati.
Scott Hutchison and Hannah McCabe
Scott Hutchison and Hannah McCabe
Penny Edwards
Penny Edwards from Omega Seafood serving Paella.
Ollie Barnett and Bec Pilcher
Ollie Barnett and Bec Pilcher
Andrew Maxwell and Anna Maxwell
Fashion in the vines competition winners, brother and sister Andrew Maxwell and Anna Maxwell
Andrew Maxwell
Andrew Maxwell
Fashion in the vines competition.
Fashion in the vines competition.
Wine tutorial
Wine tutorial
Peter and Denise Bush
Peter and Denise Bush
No 1 Family Vineyard.
No 1 Family Vineyard.
Paul Goodman and Gaynor Arthur
Paul Goodman and Gaynor Arthur enjoying whitebait at their 15th festival
Al Brown
Al Brown and Cloudy Bay Clams cooking demonstration
Al Brown
Al Brown and Cloudy Bay Clams cooking demonstration
Carmen Potgieter
Carmen Potgieter from Auckland for her first Marlborough Wine and Food Festival.

More than 7000 people supped wine, sampled Marlborough cuisine and basked in the glorious weather at the "best ever" Wine and Food Festival on Saturday.

Marcus Pickens, general manager of festival organiser Wine Marlborough, said the crowd at Brancott Estate, near Blenheim, had been very well behaved and he was stoked with how things had gone.

"I think it is the best event yet, it will be hard to top."

Police operation commander Inspector Ross Lienert said the arrests over the festival weekend were well down on last year and police were very pleased with revellers' behaviour.

There was a greater emphasis on food this year with The Culinary Pavilion and the Festival Quarter showcasing Marlborough cuisine. The festival organisers had specifically targeted an older demographic, Mr Pickens said.

"This year was much more about the food. We wanted to get rid of the music with a heavy vibe, we did not want a mosh pit at the front of the stage. We had a vision and I feel like we pulled that off."


The number of people attending was slightly up on last year,

More than 60 wineries and 25 food sites were at the festival this year, Mr Pickens said.

Donna Wells, who ran a seafood stall, said she had sold 600 servings of scallops over the course of a "very very good day".

"We sold out of everything apart from pies and some sweet truffles."

They won the people's choice award for their match of seafood ceviche with a gruner veltliner from Saint Clair Family Estate.

The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra closed the festival and had people singing along to their mellow, sunshine songs.

Willy Hammond, 29, of Nelson, said he enjoyed the group's music, particularly when they played a track by Kenny Rogers.

"In terms of food and wine it has been a fantastic year," he said.

His Canadian girlfriend, Kristen Slauenwhite, said she was very impressed with the event.

"This exceeds what I was expecting from such a little town."

Fashion designer Emma Wilson, 28, said she had enjoyed the music but wished it had been a bit better to dance to.

The crowd had been very well behaved, she said.

"I think a lot of people knew it was going to be hot so they were careful about how much they drank, which is good."

The revelling rolled over into Saturday night with Scotch Wine Bar and Cornerstone Restaurant and Bar hosting festivities for people who wanted to keep partying.



The Marlborough Express