From left, Jarod Ratto, Patrick Scott, Rachel Foulsham and Rosie Moreton enjoying some local wine and entertainment at the Nelson Wine and Food Festival at Middle-Earth Wines last year. Photo: Brittany Spencer.

An unashamedly local event

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This year’s Nelson Wine and Food Festival being held in the vineyards of Middle-Earth Wines, is unashamedly local, according to organisers.

“It’s local wines, local food, local music and local organisers putting on a local event at a great local venue,” says Richmond Rotary’s Peter Glue.

Last year students from Nayland College’s economics class conducted a survey with the view to moving the event to a different venue, possibly the Richmond Showgrounds.  However, Peter says that the response from attendees was a resounding ‘no’.

“Don’t change, keep it local, keep it at the winery, was the overwhelming response,” says Peter.

“So that’s exactly what we’re doing – keeping it local.”

Set in the stunning Middle-Earth vineyards on Tasman’s Great Taste Trail, Peter says that the grounds are looking great and he’s delighted that the public agree that it’s the perfect venue.  Middle-Earth owners Rob Grey and Ryan O’Connell say that they love being able to support the event.

“Four generations of our family have lived in Brightwater, so it is an honour to host this well-loved community event within our vines,” says Ryan. The all-day event features entertainment this year from Kramit, Cruise Control, the Neal Brothers with Matt Mitchell on drums, and the Dixie Prix. 

There will also be a Kids’ Zone with plenty to amuse the children.

For the foodies, there will be gourmet food stalls to explore, as well as award-winning wine and beer and a range of clothing and jewellery stalls for all.

Organisers are taking their host duties seriously and as well as providing lots of water. This year Goldpine and Fertilizer NZ have sponsored two large shade tents and the Nelson Cancer Society will have five marquees and umbrellas available to provide some much-needed respite from the sun.

There is also the option for people with self-contained motorhomes and caravans to stay overnight.

“Last year we had 70 staying on-site making a real weekend of it,” says Peter.

The festival is the major annual fundraiser for the Richmond Rotary, and Peter says that it has helped them to put more than $370,000 back into the community over the past 13 years.  Money raised from this year’s festival will go to support key community services such as the Nelson Tasman Hospice, Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter, Brightwater Rural Fire Force, St Johns and the Nelson Coastguard.

“We all need these services, so it’s wonderful to be able to support them,” says Peter.

As well as those biking along the cycle trail, there will be buses running to the event departing from Motueka, Ruby Bay and Mapua as well as Nelson, Tahunanui and Stoke.  For more information about on-site camping or venue transportation go to www.richmondrotary.org.nz.

Nelson Wine and Food Festival is Sunday, February 18 at Middle-Earth Wines, Bryant Rd, Brightwater from 11am to 5pm. Online and presale tickets are available at the early bird price of $20, or at the gate for $25 which includes a wine or beer glass for the event. For ticket details go to nwff.co.nz