Sunday, 31 January 2016 13:50

A weekend of wine and food

Written by  Justine Tyerman
Organiser Prue Younger said overall, everyone was very happy with the event but there were problems with transportation around the 10 sites. Organiser Prue Younger said overall, everyone was very happy with the event but there were problems with transportation around the 10 sites.

Gisborne's rebranded Weekend of Wine and Food at Labour Weekend was a brilliant success for the wineries that were fortunate to have regular bus services but disappointing for those who did not, participants say.

Organiser Prue Younger said overall, everyone was very happy with the event but there were problems with transportation around the 10 sites.

Instead of wineries gathering at a single-venue, the format in the past few years, organisers returned to the traditional "cellar door" concept which had proved a winner in the earlier era of the Gisborne Wine and Food Festival. This year for the first time, the event was held over two days with a number of other associated wine and food-themed activities.

Issues with the bus service were directly related to a flurry of last-minute ticket buying, says Younger. When people woke up to find the cool, wet Saturday had morphed overnight to a warm, sunny Sunday, ticket sales doubled to 800 which made the logistics difficult to manage.

Gisborne Winegrowers' marketing sub-committee chairman Andrew Vette agreed.

"There was pressure on transport as many people bought last minute tickets making planning extremely difficult, but such problems are all resolvable through earlier ticket sales," said Vette.

"A huge amount of credit must go to Prue Younger for re-scoping the project when our community funding fell through at the last minute, and returning the format to the cellar doors," he said.

Vette thanked everybody involved for their time and energy, and called on community funders to "get back behind this iconic Labour Weekend event again so we can deliver the truly world-class regional showcase that we are capable of".

Gisborne Winegrowers' president Al Knight said everyone he talked to was "incredibly happy with the two-day event. Each venue had its own unique atmosphere. It's gone back to its roots where great wines meet great food. I believe this is the way forward and I'm sure with a bit of fine tuning, an even better event can be delivered in 2016," said Knight.

The Weekend of Wine and Food, which has seen a number of incarnations since it began as the Gisborne Wine and Food Festival in 1997, was given an enthusiastic thumbs-up by a wide range of people who attended, many from out of town and in the older age bracket.

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