Marlborough Food and Wine Festival. © Yann

The Marlborough Wine & Food Festival: sample the local sauvignon blanc on its home turf

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In February, it gets pretty damned hot down this way. And there are few better ways to slake your thirst than with a slinky little sauvignon, from this wonderful wine region.

And while there are heaps of wonderful winery tours, it’d be a lot easier for your tired limbs if all the wineries were in one place, wouldn’t it? Well, for a few days each February, most of them are, in a sense. Even better, they are at a festival, the festival of wine and food. Best you be there too.

New Zealand punches well above its weight on the world wine stage, and Marlborough is its most famous region in both quantity and quality terms. There are 150 wineries in the region at last count, and most of them are represented in some shape or form at the festival.

The gathering gives you a chance to sample the quality offerings from more wineries than you thought it possible to gather in one place.

Sip, slurp, spit your way through reds, rosés, sparklings and sauvignons blanc, for which the region is justifiably world famous.

And while it’s mostly about the wine, it’s not all about the wine. There’s a good gourmet’s fill of great food as well, from sneaky samples of fine local offerings to more formal demonstrations. There are celebrity chefs showcasing their skills, displaying dishes, verve and technique. There’s a fashion element, and always strong performances from some of the country’s premium musicians.

Ohh, and it’s not like you’re stuck in a pavilion! The fun is centred on the Brancott vineyard, one of the country’s oldest and most beautiful. Quite an arena for all the goings on, and on they go.

You need some cash, a hat, sunscreen, and an appetite. Cheers!

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