Accent on food, glorious food, and fine wine
Up to 1500 people are expected to flock to the new-look Gibbston Wine and Food Festival on Saturday to savour everything from whitebait and venison to world-class Central Otago pinot noirs.
Restaurants and cafes from around the Wakatipu Basin will make up the 13 food stalls, and 12wineries in the region will showcase their best wines.
Festival co-ordinator Julie Hughes said there will be greater emphasis on the food this year with Queenstown's Chef Brendan (Brendan Downer) on hand to demonstrate various bruschetta toppings using a range of local produce.
Cook's Galley, of Arrowtown, will be offering its homegrown pestos, dips and relishes to accompany cheese platters, while the Gibbston Community Association will deliver delectable desserts using local berries with assistance from Gibbston chefs.
Jason Moss, from the Waitiri Creek Winery, will be turning out his legendary gourmet pies, which sold out during the NZ PGA Golf Championship, with Cardrona merino lamb, apricot, wild thyme and chardonnay, wild venison, pinot noir, juniper berries and wild rosemary, or wild mushroom all on the menu.
For those after a Japanese or South American influence, sushi and empanadas will be available, and the children will be kept happy with Mamma Mia Pizza, bouncy castles, horizontal bungy and barrel racing.
Classes are also on the programme this year for the first time, with Sean Brennan, of Brennan Wines, world champion pinot noir winemaker Grant Taylor, and Central Otago winegrowing pioneer Alan Brady all lined up to pass on the latest tips. Queenstown Resort College will also be running master classes at the festival.
Local artists will be performing throughout the day, and Ms Hughes said festival-goers keen for an aerial view can opt for heli tours, which will be operating from the event.
Arrowtown School volunteers will assist throughout the day and in return the featured wineries will each donate 20 litres of their wine to a special reserve that will be barrelled and sold as a fundraiser for the school's 150th anniversary celebrations in October.
The Southland Times