Looking forward to a wine and food smorgasbord

EDITORIAL

Rather than a Gisborne Wine and Food Festival, a host of the district’s wineries, chefs, producers and others are putting on a smorgasborg of events this Labour Weekend that will keep alive the tradition of this much-anticipated holiday kicking off Gisborne’s summer festivities.

The big question in measuring the success of this approach will be how many visitors it attracts, and the range of events and activities described in yesterday’s front-page story indicate plenty of reasons for people to organise a Gisborne getaway. Key to that coming to fruition will be the finer details and good marketing.

Looking through the extensive list of events and destinations, there is something to tantalise all tastebuds and styles, and show off the district’s fine wines and foods in convivial settings — many with live music to enhance the atmosphere, as well as opportunities to meet and learn from some of our skilled and passionate winemakers.

They range from degustation dinners at restaurants to a street food festival, cellar doors at wineries and a pop-up combined one at the Gisborne Yacht Club on Kaiti Beach, the Chardonnay Express involving a ride on the Wa165 steam train and, for those nostaligic for the wine and food festival of old, the First Light Wine and Food event at Matawhero Wines and TW’s Golden Slope with a bus service to, from and between the two vineyard sites.

The re-emergence of the popular Golden Slopes site, last involved in the 2009 festival, will be a drawcard for many. If the Sunday delivers a nice spring day, it is a fantastic spot to gather and be entertained overlooking vineyards and across the Poverty Bay Flats.

It is also great to see a focus on chardonnay in the line-up. We seemed to stop pushing the Chardonnay Capital tagline about the same time as First To See The Light, but both remain strong selling points for the region. We actually make better chardonnays now that they are not all big and buttery, and it is still the dominant variety in our vineyards.

So this Labour Weekend there will be plenty of reasons to raise a glass to our artisan winemakers and food producers, and another long Gisborne summer.

Rather than a Gisborne Wine and Food Festival, a host of the district’s wineries, chefs, producers and others are putting on a smorgasborg of events this Labour Weekend that will keep alive the tradition of this much-anticipated holiday kicking off Gisborne’s summer festivities.

The big question in measuring the success of this approach will be how many visitors it attracts, and the range of events and activities described in yesterday’s front-page story indicate plenty of reasons for people to organise a Gisborne getaway. Key to that coming to fruition will be the finer details and good marketing.

Looking through the extensive list of events and destinations, there is something to tantalise all tastebuds and styles, and show off the district’s fine wines and foods in convivial settings — many with live music to enhance the atmosphere, as well as opportunities to meet and learn from some of our skilled and passionate winemakers.

They range from degustation dinners at restaurants to a street food festival, cellar doors at wineries and a pop-up combined one at the Gisborne Yacht Club on Kaiti Beach, the Chardonnay Express involving a ride on the Wa165 steam train and, for those nostaligic for the wine and food festival of old, the First Light Wine and Food event at Matawhero Wines and TW’s Golden Slope with a bus service to, from and between the two vineyard sites.

The re-emergence of the popular Golden Slopes site, last involved in the 2009 festival, will be a drawcard for many. If the Sunday delivers a nice spring day, it is a fantastic spot to gather and be entertained overlooking vineyards and across the Poverty Bay Flats.

It is also great to see a focus on chardonnay in the line-up. We seemed to stop pushing the Chardonnay Capital tagline about the same time as First To See The Light, but both remain strong selling points for the region. We actually make better chardonnays now that they are not all big and buttery, and it is still the dominant variety in our vineyards.

So this Labour Weekend there will be plenty of reasons to raise a glass to our artisan winemakers and food producers, and another long Gisborne summer.

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