Vine­yard cel­e­bra­tion over­due

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

Mayor Len Brown is pledg­ing his sup­port for Wai­heke Vin­tage Fes­ti­val’s po­si­tion on the wider Auck­land events’ map.

He was speak­ing to a re­cep­tive crowd at the launch of the in­au­gu­ral fes­ti­val at Goldie Vine­yard on March 25, say­ing the is­land is famed for its out­stand­ing vin­tages.

‘‘I have to won­der why it’s taken so long for a fes­ti­val like this to come along. We to­tally sup­port it. We have stepped up on de­liv­er­ing great events in Auck­land – and this is part of it.’’

The launch, hosted by John Hawkesby, was at­tended by mem­bers of the wine in­dus­try, cor­po­rate spon­sors and dig­ni­taries in­clud­ing MP Nikki Kaye.

Wai­heke Wine­grow­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Rob Mered­ith says the fes­ti­val, which in­volves 24 mem­bers, has been 18 months in the mak­ing.

‘‘We hope it will be an an­nual event. We think of Wai­heke Is­land as Auck­land’s wine­grow­ing re­gion.

‘‘The fes­ti­val is an op­por­tu­nity for the Auck­land pub­lic to em­brace and learn about Wai­heke wine.’’

Mered­ith says Wai­heke is now also firmly es­tab­lished on the world wine map.

‘‘We punch well above our weight in terms of awards and tro­phies.’’

Hawkesby in­vited ‘‘the God­fa­ther of Wai­heke wine’’ Kim Gold­wa­ter to cut the rib­bon and launch the fes­ti­val af­ter a per­for­mance by The Fes­ti­val Dancers.

He and the mayor gave Kim and Jeanette Gold­wa­ter a spe­cial men­tion for plant­ing the first vines on Wai­heke Is­land in 1977 and for the gift of their vine­yard to the Univer­sity of Auck­land as a train­ing in­sti­tute.

A huge bunch of bal­loons the colour of pur­ple grapes was re­leased to mark the oc­ca­sion.

Visual mark­ers:

Len Brown

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