Food & Wine Festivals, along with a charity golf event (which we sponsored) and the biggest horseracing event on the local calendar. Misha looks back at the Summer of Festivals!
Misha’s Vineyard was a key wine sponsor of the 2013 Hills Cure Kids Open at The Hills golf course in Arrowtown – a spectacular championship level golf course decorated with amazing art and features. Over the weekend, the guest golfers consumed only Misha’s Vineyard wines and they consumed a lot – in fact we had to do a fast dash to the warehouse to replenish the many bottles of Pinot Noir that were consumed on the first evening! Cure Kids is a wonderful charity and does a lot of fund raising across New Zealand to fund research into children’s diseases. We’ve had an association with them since ‘Shrek’ — a sheep who had escaped muster for six years was eventually found at Bendigo Station, just above our vineyard. ‘Shrek’, so named as he was a huge woolly creature when discovered, went on to become a national icon in New Zealand with all the money earned from his appearances, books, etc going to the Cure Kids charity. With our location in the Bendigo sub-region it’s nice to maintain the link that Cure Kids has had with Bendigo Station.
On the first day of summer, the Misha’s Vineyard team had a small marquee for Christmas at The Races – a country horseracing event in Cromwell – and we invited some key trade guests as well. We had a great afternoon (and it was even better for those who picked the winning horses) and we even watched a sheep race! Yes, only in New Zealand would you have sheep race up the main straight with a cheering crowd on the sides and team of shouting shepherds keeping the mob running! It was good to have a social day with our team which has 2 new full time members who’ve joined recently. Aaron how has taken on the tractor driver role navigating our steep hills, and Ian is now part of our permanent vineyard team and our irrigation specialist. We also had the current casual vineyard crew who come from from many different nations join us as well. Some had never seen horse racing before so it was quite an experience!
The following weekend, Andy, Jill and I drove up to Christchurch to participate in the South Island Food & Wine Festival! Although it’s just about the busiest day we have all year, we look forward to it as we meet so many people who love our wines! Located in Hagley Park, the Festival draws around 8,000 people and once the gates open at 11 we don’t stop pouring wines until 7pm – and barely take a break during that time! This Festival has become one of our key local activities as it gives us a chance to chat to many of our fans and hopefully win some new ones!
In the build up to Christmas, Misha’s Vineyard had a virtual cellar door at the Fine Wine Delivery Company in Auckland for two weeks where we brought the Misha’s Vineyard experience to some of our fans in the big smoke! As well as Andy and Olly manning our ‘virtual’ cellar door, Andy also hosted a food and wine evening at the beautiful new premises of the Fine Wine Delivery Company with food prepared by Michelin Star Chef Philip Reynolds, and shared some of the stories of Misha’s Vineyard with customers.
Then in the first days of the new year, we did another wine festival – this time in our own local town. The Old Cromwell Food & Wine Festival was another huge success. It was our second year of participation and I think it will be a regular event for us. Given we don’t have a cellar door open to the public, it’s a great opportunity to meet all the locals and let them taste the wines. We had another very busy day but we were helped by one of our casual vineyard team, Tom, who used to run a wine shop back in the UK. We made good use of his skills all through the sunny (but sometimes windy) afternoon.
Although we had a very busy Christmas period, and we were receiving export orders right up to the day before Christmas, we did manage a few days at the beach north of Dunedin to chill out before what will probably be our busiest year yet! I just know 2014 is going to flash by and in no time, we’ll be getting ready for the summer wine festivals all over again!