Sample award-winning wine and food

Gibbston Wine and Food Festival co-ordinator Julie Hughes with Brennan Wines winemaker Sean Brennan.
Gibbston Wine and Food Festival co-ordinator Julie Hughes with Brennan Wines winemaker Sean Brennan.

Launched nine years ago as the Gibbston Harvest Festival, the event has had a makeover ahead of the 2013 festival and will now be known as the Gibbston Wine and Food Festival.

Co-host Sean Brennan, of Brennan Wines, said organisers hoped the new name would help people to identify the festival as a celebration of wine and food as well as attracting a larger crowd.

"Before the association with wine wasn't self-evident. Showcasing the wine and food of the region is definitely the focus," Mr Brennan said.

The festival gives people the opportunity to sample award-winning wines from the area and talk to the winemakers and ask any questions they may have, he said.

"It won't be just the wines that are available on supermarkets shelves, there will be a variety of small vintages."

In response to feedback from wineries and those who've attended in the past, organisers have changed sampling glasses and sizes. In previous years attendees have been offered a half or full glass option which limited the amount of wines people could sample, he said. This year tastings will be just $1 for a 15ml sample.

"We want to show people that we do have world-class wines on our back doorstep and they can taste them for almost nothing."

The new-look festival would include several new elements, including a variety of master classes hosted by Queenstown Resort College tutors, but organisers promised to retain it's community focus.

Event co-ordinator Julie Hughes said as well as showcasing local wine and food, entertainment would be provided by members of the Wakatipu-based RockFormation.

Of the 19 wineries in the valley, 12 had confirmed and more were expected to, she said.

Buses will be available to transport festival-goers to and from Queenstown and Arrowtown. Tickets can be purchased on the gate or from participating wineries. There's a pre-sale ticket offer of 10 tickets for the price of nine.

Fast Facts:

What: Gibbston Wine and Food Festival
When: Saturday, March 16, 11am
Where: Mt Rosa and Brennan Wines, Gibbston Back Road
Cost: $15 18 and over, children free

The Southland Times