While the North America struggles with unexpected snow storms and blizzards, New Zealand is soaking up the sun, dealing with the occasional heat wave, and enjoying wine festival season.
From the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island, foodies and winos wine enthusiasts can find events and festivals guaranteed to please the palate and the senses. But it not just about the wine. The festivals also offer entertainment, including fashion contests, kids games, and foot-tapping music.
Some events, such as the popular Hawke’s Bay Wine and Food Festival and the Waiheke Island Wine Festival, have already had their moment in the sun for this year. But there is still plenty more to come.
Here’s just a small sampling of upcoming wine festivals around the country.
The Marlborough Wine Festival happens next weekend. It’s the most popular and longest running wine festival in New Zealand and tickets are usually sold out months in advance. Located in the South Island town of Blenheim, the festival offers over 200 wines from 40 wineries, scrumptious locally grown and prepared food, and great entertainment.
The small historic maritime village of Devonport hosts the annual Devonport Wine and Food Festival (February 20-21), Featuring more than 15 of New Zealand’s top wineries and a smorgasbord of mouth-watering foods. Located just minutes from central Auckland, Devonport is easily accessible by ferry or car.
At the beginning of March, the tiny town of Waipara in North Canterbury bursts at the seams as visitors from around the country and the world gather for the Waipara Wine & Food Celebration.
Later in the month, the beginning of the grape harvest season is celebrated at the Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival (March 20). Now in it’s fourth year, this popular festival offers a chance to experience the great wines and foods from the surrounding Wairarapa region located approximately an hour north-east of Wellington.
Further down south in Central Otago, the 5th annual Gibbston Harvest Festival has been scheduled for the same day. Located at the Gibbston Valley Station, the festival features local wines and foods and offers master classes in wine tasting and food appreciation.
And on Easter Sunday, the historic goldrush town of Clyde in the deep south hosts the Clyde Wine & Food Harvest Festival. Featuring wines produced by the world’s most southerly vineyards, this festival offers a chance to taste some amazing wines, including the famed Central Otago Pinot Noir.
To discover even more wine festivals around the country check out Wines of NZ events guide.
(photo from Marlborough Wine Festival website)