Brightwater Wine and Food Festival's, from left, Jim Scott, Pete Glue, Ray Day, Ras Zachariassen, Kevin Cross, Ken McDonald and Rob Grey, are encouraging people to bike and take campervans to the festival. Photo: Simon Bloomberg.

Bikes and caravans invited to wine and food festival

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Organisers of the Brightwater Wine and Food Festival, being held at Middle Earth Vineyard on Sunday, February 15, are introducing one or two new innovations for the 11th edition of the popular event.

Enjoying great wine, beer, food and live entertainment in Middle-Earth’s picturesque vineyard has always been the big attraction of the festival, which is run by Richmond Rotary as a fundraiser for the community. But this year, Richmond Rotary have tweaked the festival to make it more family-orientated, with parents being encouraged to bring their children. “We used to try and pretend that kids didn’t exist, which hasn’t worked, so we are changing things around this year,” Rotary’s Pete Glue says. “Children under-12 will still be free but we are catering for them this year with a children’s area.

“Brightwater School is organising that and they know exactly how to entertain kids. It will make the whole event a lot more family-friendly.”

Pete says they are also keen to encourage people to use alternative transport to get to the festival, so they can enjoy a wine and beer without worrying about drink-driving. He says biking along the Tasman Great Taste Cycle Trail or taking a bus are two alternatives, while they are also encouraging campervan owners to consider staying the night at Middle-Earth Vineyard.

“Everybody is concerned about the new, low alcohol limits so we wanted to actively promote safe alternatives. It means people can enjoy the wine and beer without needing a sober driver to get home.

“The cycle trail goes right past Middle Earth so it’s really convenient. Biking to the festival is also part of the Nelson Bikefest which starts this month.”
Rotary is also providing security for cars and bikes left at the vineyard on Sunday night for anyone deciding to catch a bus or ride home. The bus service will be operating between Nelson and Brightwater with pick ups from all SBL bus stops on the route, as well as outside the Richmond Holiday Park, Three Brothers Corner, Hope Store and Eden Rd.

The bus will leave the Nelson SBL depot at 10.30am and Stoke, at Songer St corner, at 10:50am.  It will leave Brightwater at 4pm, 5pm and 5.30pm.

Pete says they have a good line-up of Nelson entertainers for this year’s event including Urban, Kramit, Paul Madsen and Antoni Neal. There will be the usual wide range of wine, beer and food stalls at the event which last year raised $29,800 for the community.

Tickets can be purchased for $15 from Colour Plus Richmond, Haven Realty offices in Nelson and Richmond, Wakefield Supermarket, Brightwater Motors, Specsavers in the Richmond Mall, Village Cycles, Paper Plus Nelson, Brightwater Sprig & Fern and Hangar 58, or at the gate on the day for $20.