Marlborough Wine and Food Festival: countdown to the biggest party in Marlborough

Wine Marlborough events manager Georgie Leach flying the flag for the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival, on February 11.
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ

Wine Marlborough events manager Georgie Leach flying the flag for the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival, on February 11.

The biggest party in Marlborough is less than a month away, a chance for residents and visitors alike to celebrate the wines that put the region on the map.

Anticipation is building for the 33rd Marlborough Wine and Food Festival, which was name-checked by The New York Times earlier this month as one of the culinary festivals of the year.

Wine Marlborough events manager Georgie Leach said ticket sales were up on last year, and she expected a capacity crowd of around 8000 at Brancott Vineyard, in Fairhall, come February 11.

Festival attendees would get the chance to sample wines from 42 Marlborough wine companies, as well as a wide range of food from up to 20 stalls around the vineyard site.

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"I think it gives you a really great snapshot of what Marlborough represents, you've got the majority of the wine industry in one space and a diverse range of food producers," Leach said.

"The festival attracts a really diverse crowd and I think what's on offer reflects that."

The largest wine festival in New Zealand was not short on entertainment either, with headliners Supergroove and Hollie Smith guaranteed to turn on a great show, she said.

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Iconic Kiwi chef Annabelle White, along with MasterChef New Zealand winners Karena and Kasey Bird, Bradley Hornby, from Marlborough restaurant Arbour, and Sydney chef Monty Koludrovic will be cooking up a storm in the culinary pavilion. 

For attendees that wanted some culinary education the festival also had two master classes, called 'Drink Pink: Think Cheese' and 'Queen of the Grapes: King of the Seas'.

 

The first celebrated all things rose and cheese, hosted by Kaikoura Cheese owner Daniel Jenkins, while the second class, hosted by White, focused on pairing sauvignon blanc and salmon.

The master classes cost $42 on top of general admission ticket prices for the festival, which were available from Ticketek for $55, as well as the Blenheim i-Site, Blenheim New World, The Vines Village, Wino's and the ASB Theatre.

Leach, who took over the events manager position five weeks ago, said she was hoping for good weather for the festival - it had not rained the previous 32 times, and she was hopeful the tradition would continue.

 - The Marlborough Express

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