The liquor industry in New Zealand and overseas is cancelling large scale events in a bid to slow down the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many events have announced new dates later in the year to keep the spirits up and give Kiwis something to look forward to…

  • The Highball cocktail festival scheduled for May has now been postponed and will take place in Wellington on 9-10 October.
  • Hop’N’Vine Craft Beer, Wine & Food Festival has been postponed until 10 October.
  • The Gisborne Beer Festival has been postponed until 28 November.
  • The judging and awards dinner for the 2020 New Zealand Spirits Awards, due to take place in Wellington next week, has been postponed. The new date is to be advised.
  • Hop’N’Vine Craft Beer, Wine & Food Festival in Invercargill has been postponed until 10 October.
  • Beer-a-Palooza in the Hawke’s Bay has been postponed until later in the year with the new date to be advised.
  • Winetopia – due to happen in Auckland and Wellington in May and June – have both been postponed, new dates are to be confirmed.
  • Pinot Noir NZ 2021 now aims to hold the event in February 2022.

Unfortunately some events have been forced to cancel, including:

  • The Australasian Hospitality and Gaming Expo (AHG), which was due to take place in Brisbane on 18-19 March. AHG Expo Event Manager Amy Coady says the cancellations were a precautionary measure in the interests of public safety.
  • Hopstock 2020, scheduled to take place in Wellington on April 22-26. “We have to anticipate that a lot is going to change over the next month, and there are simply too many unknowns to be going forward with this event right now,” said the organisers. “We do not need to detail the many motivating factors of this decision, the main point is that the health and safety of our amazing hospitality industry and our valued patrons has been paramount in our decision.”
  • The Winter Food & Wine Classic (F.A.W.C) due to take place across Hawke’s Bay in June.
  • The Decanter Asia Wine Awards (DAWA) for 2020 scheduled for September.

Palliser Estate and Milton Estate wineries have both closed their cellar doors but are offering free freight to those who choose to buy wine online.

“Large gatherings and events are a high risk environment for the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19, because people often behave in ways that facilitate transmission at these events,” says Health Minister David Clark.

Clark says it was not possible at this stage to say how long these measures will be in place, but warned we could be in this situation for some time yet and the advice is “if in doubt, cancel”.

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