This is the sixth year for the Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival and it's proving to be one of the most popular among wine lovers due to its ‘grass roots' philosophy. It's really a family day out in the country with a focus on trying some new wines, eating some delicious food and being entertained, all in a relaxed and natural setting; and the whole experience not too hard on the pocket.
The venue is ‘The Cliffs Riverside Reserve' on the banks of the Ruamahanga River, near the end of Dakins Road, just 10 minutes drive from Caterton and Masterton. It's extremely accessible by car, but if you don't want to drive, there are train and shuttle service options.
The festival features the wines of the wider Wairarapa region, which are growing in stature. Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blancs from the district foot it with those of Martinborough, and quality wines can be had with Riesling, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Syrah, and there are excellent sparkling and dessert wines that need to be discovered. The food is also Wairarapa based with producers, cafés and restaurants making their wares available. To encourage the combination of wine with food, there will be a Wine and Food Match Competition to be judged by two celebrities. Art exhibitions and displays add interest. This year, the live music features The Shenanigans, California Dreamers and Kevin Clark who will provide great entertainment, and add to the general appeal.
The participating wineries (at time of writing, late January) are Blairpatrick, Borthwick, Cottier, Fairmont, Gladstone Vineyard, Hudson, Johner, Julicher, Loopline, Lynfer, Matahiwi, Mebus, Paulonia, Schubert, Urlar and Wycroft. The food exhibitors (to date) are Bar Saluté, Café Mirabelle, Cornucopia Bistro, Entice Gourmet, The Gladstone Inn, Gladstone Vineyard Café, Wakelin House, Sushi Planet, Wazoo Pizza.
Tickets are limited to 2000 issued and there will be no gate sales. Don't miss out!