Thousands at Wine and Food Festival

JODY O'CALLAGHAN
Last updated 08:26 08/12/2013

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Wine flowed, the smell of delicious food wafted, and Cantabrians felt the summer vibe at the South Island Wine & Food Festival on Saturday.

By 2pm there had been nearly 5000 people through the entry gates of the annual festival, with another 2000 expected by the day's end.

This year's tree-sheltered, lakeside location at Hagley Park offered welcome respite from the scorching sun as patrons tasted the many wines on display.

First-time attenders to the festival Bonnie Smith, 24, Richard Andrew, 28, and Kim Roberts, 25, were enjoying the heat and the chance to critique the different wines.

According to Andrew: ''It's like Cup Day, but without the boring horses.''

Heather Symes, of Christchurch, said it was a nice crowd of people, and with nice music.

Her friend Sally McPherson said it was great to see the smaller wines making more of an appearance at this year's festival.

''There are even ones that are commonly available in the supermarket.''

Trekessa Manu, 22, said she was lucky to get a ticket yesterday since they were sold out today. ''It is beautiful weather, at a perfect time of year, so it is good to kick start summer with it.''

Sugar Loaf Wines founder Kate Acland said the festival was a great way to get her product out there.

She founded the wine, named after the islands off the Taranaki coastline where she grew up, in 2004 when she was just 23 years' old.

But she lives now in Canterbury, where the name has significance to Christchurch too. It was the first festival she had been involved with in three years.

''It's been really good. Better than we expected.''

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