Fam­ily fes­ti­val for all

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

The old gold min­ing town of Clyde with its many 19th cen­tury build­ings and sur­round­ing schist-cov­ered hills and moun­tains is the home of the an­nual Clyde Wine and Food Harvest Fes­ti­val. Now in its eleventh year, this site gives the fes­ti­val a unique at­mos­phere for an event which has grown from hum­ble be­gin­nings, to be now ranked as the pre­miere wine event in Cen­tral Otago. What makes this event dif­fer­ent and rather unique is that it of­fers other at­trac­tions which help make the fes­ti­val a fam­ily-ori­en­tated event as well as a good day out. It started as a wine tast­ing event run by a cou­ple of lo­cal restau­rants on Easter Sun­day back in 2001, with the com­mu­nity in­vited to take part and the Clyde busi­nesses that were in­volved agree­ing to un­der­write the costs if it failed. Part of the main street was closed for the af­ter­noon and the fes­ti­val was at­tended by about nine lo­cal vine­yards and a cou­ple of food stalls. From that event a cheque for $1858.33 was pre­sented to the Clyde Pro­mo­tions Group which sub­se­quently do­nated $1000 to ‘‘Friends of Dun­stan Hospi­tal’’. And the rest, as they say is His­tory, with ‘Pro­mote Dun­stan’ now re­spon­si­ble for the or­gan­i­sa­tion of the an­nual Clyde Wine and Food Harvest Fes­ti­val. The fes­ti­val is very much a lo­cal com­mu­nity event, cel­e­brat­ing the lo­cally pro­duced wine, with par­tic­i­pa­tion re­stricted to grow­ers and winer­ies south of the Clyde Dam - Clyde, Earn­scle­ugh, and Alexan­dra - which are home to the world’s most southerly vine­yards. The first fes­ti­val had about nine wine pro­duc­ers and that num­ber has climbed to over 20 sell­ing the in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned pinot noir plus other va­ri­eties in­clud­ing gewu¨ rtz­traminer, chardon­nay, pinot gris, ries­ling, caber­net sau­vi­gnon, mer­lot and rose. Over the years public at­ten­dance has grown to more than 5,500 last year with over­seas tourists and vis­i­tors from other parts of New Zealand trav­el­ling to Cen­tral just for the fes­ti­val. As part of its host re­spon­si­bil­ity, Pro­mote Dun­stan hires a bus from Cen­tral Mo­tor­ways in Alexan­dra to shut­tle peo­ple be­tween Alexan­dra and Clyde for most of the day. This year for the first time, those at­tend­ing will be is­sued with wrist­bands which will act as a help­ing hand for those sell­ing wine to de­ter­mine the age of peo­ple.

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