If you haven’t already done so, mark February 10th in your diary. With Marlborough’s summer in full swing, it’s a perfect day of the year to gather your friends and experience the best food and wine that the region has to offer; and the Marlborough Wine & Food Festival is a splendid opportunity to do so.
As the longest running wine festival in New Zealand, this iconic event enjoys its thirty fourth consecutive year in 2018, and Bayleys Marlborough are once again proud to offer sponsorship.
We caught up with Georgie Leach, the Events Manager, at the Marlborough Wine & Food Festival to find out how an event that attracts in excess of 8,000 visitors each year is organised.
Georgie calls it the People’s Festival, saying, “During the year the committee, which is made up of food producers, winery representatives and other community members meet monthly to help curate the festival programme.” She continues, “The real magic happens in the week leading up to the event and on the day itself. We have hundreds of people from community groups within Marlborough who help out, and we honestly couldn’t do it without them.”
With just three permanent members of staff, and a part-time Festival Assistant, it’s easy to see how important the volunteer helpers are. Each event takes a full year to plan, and whilst some of the profit from the previous event is donated to the community groups that help to organise it, most is ploughed back in to the promotion and execution of the following year’s festival.
As a long-standing event, it’s important to meet people’s expectations, whilst still keeping the festival fresh and updated. The entertainment line-up changes annually, but this year there are also some changes in the culinary pavilion. Georgie says, “We’ll be shining more of a light on our fabulous food producers, rather than the dishes created.” She continues, “We’re fortunate to have some amazing producers here in Marlborough and we want to highlight that you don’t need to be an award-winning chef to use and enjoy them.”
It seems appropriate that the site of the first Sauvignon Blanc plantings in Marlborough, The Brancott Estate, plays host to such an iconic festival and Georgie believes the setting is perfect, saying, “We’re so lucky to be able to use this venue year after year, it’s well maintained, and a delightful location with stunning scenery, that both tourists and Marlburians enjoy visiting.”
With about half the attending guests coming from outside the region, Georgie believes it’s the perfect way to showcase Marlborough and everything the region has to offer, saying, “It’s a real boost for the local community, so many businesses benefit, not just the wineries and food operators at the event.”
To summarise, we asked Georgie to use no more than four words to describe the Marlborough Wine & Food Festival; her response… Marlborough’s Best Day Out!
Visit wine-marlborough-festival.co.nz to find your tickets.
We will soon be dishing these fabulous hats out along with free tickets to the Marlborough Wine & Food Festival to those clients that have listed with Bayleys Marlborough between 1 Dec 2017 – 2 Feb 2018. One lucky listing will also win a luxury escape to the Hawkes Bay! Contact your Bayleys salesperson for more details.