Marlborough Wine and Food Festival.
For twenty-five years Marlborough has been hosting the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival on the second Saturday in February. For twenty-five years the Festival has been held in perfect sunny weather. It hasn’t always been held at Montana Brancott Estate Vineyard, but for 23 years it has been staged on a natural arena surrounded by grapevines within Montana’s Vineyard.
8000 tickets sold out very quickly for the Jubilee event, mainly to people outside of Marlborough. 1000 mostly Marlborough residents assist with the running of the event in many different capacities, including taxi drivers of which I am one.
To mark the 25th anniversary an opening ceremony was held at 10.30am, a ribbon was cut, balloons were released and filled the air with colour while an aerial display of ancient flying machines from the Aviation Heritage centre at Omaka, Blenheim, flew past.
There are regular reasonably priced bus trips to and fro the town to the site all day that are well patronised, plus many make the 12 Km drive in comfort by Taxi.
With more than 50 Wineries exhibiting their finest wines, all served in the Festival glass handed to each ticket holder as they come through the gates, plus many culinary delights such as scallops, king salmon, mussels, whitebait ploughman’s sandwiches, gateau’s and many, many other interesting goodies everyone is catered for.
All produce and wine must have a Marlborough content so it truly shows off our gourmet province.
Plenty of ice and water is also available to keep everyone cool and refreshed.
All day long entertainment is provided on the main stage and also on smaller stages around the site, Don McGlashan, Koro and the Beat Girls got everybody up and dancing and having fun, which is the main reason most people are there. All had an excellent day of wine, food and entertainment until 7pm when the party ended or yet another year.
From comments heard in the taxi I think, Marlborough’s Sauvignon Blanc from any vineyard, was top favourite among the wines, with Serinsons Chardonnay a close second. Favourite food seemed to be the Marlborough’s Scallops.
Preceding the Festival on Friday a huge open Market day is held in the main streets of Blenheim with hundreds of small stalls selling high quality craft items and food and bric-a-brac, plus many buskers entertaining in their own way, its lovely to see the happy throng of tourists and locals alike fill the streets.
Following the festival on Saturday there are many options to entertain you and tempt your tastebuds on the Sunday.
There is Sounds Cruise on the ‘Odyssea’ and a Wine Down held in most of the wineries own cellar doors, entertainment is provided at the vineyards such as live music, petanque games, tours of cellars and nibbles. There is also Polo tournaments, Cricket tournament, and a Country fete held at Woodend Gardens, and an Elim family fun day for the children, more than enough to keep everyone happy and entertained. All followed by a free concert with BBQ in the park at Pollard Park in the evening.