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Excellence to pay dividends at Waiheke Wine Fest

Pursuit of excellence to pay dividends at Waiheke Wine Festival

As Waiheke Wine Festival goers on February 11 will find out, the island’s wines are pretty good.

In fact, many wineries such as Cable Bay , Goldwater, Obsidian, Mudbrick, Stonyridge, Passage Rock and Te Whau are winning international awards all over the world.

They have built an impressive international profile in recent years.

This week, however, the pursuit of excellence among Waiheke wine growers has moved to a new level – as they destroy half the 2006 crop before the fruit has reached maturity.

Chris Canning of The Hay Paddock vineyard said the warm spring and a low crop in 2005 had resulted in an abundance of fruit set in island vineyards this season.

Vineyard staff are dropping 50 percent or more of their early fruit onto the ground so ripening and flavour intensities are increased in the reduced crop at harvest, Canning said.

``While it hurts to sacrifice fruit, most Waiheke Island producers are committed to achieving the highest quality possible. If this summer continues as it has begun, the sacrifice will be well worth it.

``And once again Waiheke Island winemakers will achieve international recognition as premium wine producers,’’ he said.

Many of the excellent 2004 and 2005 vintages will be on offer at this year’s festival, which takes place at Isola Estate on February 11.

Stephen White of Stonyridge Vineyard said having this year’s event in one location with one big stage will make it the best wine festival ever.

``I can think of nothing better than listening to Dave Dobbyn with a glass of fine Fallen Angel wine and not having to catch buses all day.”

With 21 wineries, a backdrop of entertainment from great New Zealand entertainers, Dave Dobbyn, Don McGlashan and The Beat Girls, delicious gourmet food and of course the beautiful island setting, ticket holders are in for a real treat. The annual festival has attracted unprecedented support from Waiheke Island winegrowers with a record number of vineyards taking part. Festival organiser Rose France said the festival among the vines had huge attraction with elegant vintages, delicious gourmet food and superb music to lull the senses.

Recognised as the best boutique wine festival of its kind in New Zealand, the annual event gives wine lovers the opportunity to sample the island’s vinous charms for themselves and celebrate the launch of the new vintage.

Ends

Copyright 2006 Word of Mouth Media NZ

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