Over 2000 people flooded through the gates of the Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival last Saturday to enjoy a day in the sun sampling great wine, food and entertainment. Only a week before the flood waters of the Ruamahanga River had entered the same gates giving the organisers some concerns however these proved unfounded as Saturday was hot, sunny and a bubbling success.
16 Wairarapa Wineries showcased their wines from the Gladstone, Masterton and Martinborough area and food from 9 top eateries. The fantastic array of quality local food included an Alpaca Pie from Wakelin House and Wairarapa wild duck sausage rolls from Bar Satute in Greytown both among the favourites with the crowd. This year a food and wine matching competition (see attached entries) was held, judged by Cuisine Magazine Food Editor and Master Chef judge, Ray McVinnie and Cuisine Magazine Wine Editor, John Saker, the winners were as follows:”
First – Wazoo Pizza's Parma ham, mushroom, olive, rocket and mozzarella pizza matched with Shubert Wine's Syrah 2009.
Second – Gladstone Vineyard Café's Ngawi seafood fritters matched with Gladstone Vineyard's Voignier 2011
Third – Bar Salute's Wairarapa wild duck sausage rolls matched with Urlar's Pinot Noir 2010.
John Saker commented on the entries as follows, "Well done, Harvest... the task of judging your wine and food matches was a gastronomic pleasure, but not an easy task, which is exactly how it should be. Ray and I enjoyed the diversity you brought to the table, from both food and wine. Our top three matches reflect that diversity. The first combines quiet harmony on the food side with a robust, but perfectly pitched wine; the second was quite a daring match for viognier (not always an easy customer at the table); the third a classic match, combining duck and pinot."
Event organiser Liz Pollock described the event as the “Quintessential New Zealand Party, combining great food, wine and entertainment with a family picnic day out in a spectacular country, riverside setting”. The event is unlike any other wine and food event in the country attracting people from across the age spectrum and creating a relaxed, well behaved and fun day for all. Entertainment this year was provided by the music of Fran Barton and the Kevin Clark Group, Way Out West, the Shenanigans Irish Band and California Dreamers. The dance floor was packed throughout the day as people grooved along to songs we all know well and love.
Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival was in its 6th year this year and was undoubtedly one of the best yet setting the stage for the March 2013 Festival to lift the bar still further. Tickets for next year's event will go on sale in November 2012 through all Ticketek outlets.
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