The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Marlborough and Martinborough wine and food festivals cancelled

Organisers of the Marlborough Wine & Food Festival and Toast Martinborough have announced that both events have been cancelled.

The cancellation of the Marlborough event – due to take place on February 13 – is the first in its 36-year history but organisers say it is necessary in order to help protect the 2021 harvest from the threat of COVID-19.

“The past month has been a reminder that the world is in a time of uncertainty, and New Zealand’s situation can change at any time,” says Marlborough Winegrowers Board Chair, Tom Trolove.

“What is certain to us is that we have to do all we can to protect the health of our people, and the economic lifeblood of this region.”

Trolove says the wine industry is vital to Marlborough’s economic health.

“So no matter how much we love our iconic wine festival, with all its camaraderie and celebration, we cannot let it jeopardise our industry, or indeed our community.”

Wine Marlborough General Manager Marcus Pickens said the committee and organising team put their heart and soul into the event every year, ensuring it was a remarkable event for the industry, the Marlborough region and the country.

“It’s gutting that we can’t do that for February 2021, but we fully support the board’s decision,” he says.

“Wine Marlborough’s top priority is protecting the reputation of our extraordinary wine region, and right now that means doing all we can to help reduce the risk of holding a
large event like this before harvest.”

Organisers say purchasers of the limited amount of Super Early Bird Tickets that have been sold will receive a 100% refund of their ticket price, including fees.

Toast Martinborough, due to take place in November, has also been cancelled.

“Our early bird tickets sold in minutes, we had to open up GA sales well before usual, and here we are with basically a sold-out event,” organisers wrote on the event’s website.

“However, as you know, things have got tougher in the ever-changing landscape of New Zealand’s fight with COVID-19. We have had to reassess the potential risks involved in bringing thousands of people together.

“Your safety, and that of the huge number of people who come to work on the day, is paramount.

“We want to be able to celebrate Martinborough’s wines with you in fitting style, without any complications or risk. So, given that so much is still uncertain, we have made the call to cellar this year’s event.”

Toast Martinborough will now take place next November.

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