Festival grows from 300 to 3500 glasses

More than 3000 wine and food lovers  enjoy the  Clyde Wine and Food Harvest Festival yesterday....
More than 3000 wine and food lovers enjoy the Clyde Wine and Food Harvest Festival yesterday. Photo: Tom Kitchin
In 2000, it began with four wine stalls.

Yesterday,  19 wineries and 19 food stalls lined Sunderland St in Clyde for the town’s 2018 Wine and Food Harvest Festival.

The festival is held every Easter Sunday to celebrate the best in wine and food from the Clyde, Alexandra and Earnscleugh districts.

Verdun  Burgess, founder of Black Ridge Winery, which was one of the four original wineries represented at the festival, said the early days were much quieter.

"We sold 300 glasses in total; now they do 3500 and sometimes run out," he said.

Yesterday, the festival stalls stretched from  the Dunstan Hotel to the west end of Sunderland St near Miners Lane.

Mr Burgess said the festival was started to promote Clyde and  because Central Otago needed "something to do in the weekends". Mr Burgess sold his winery in 2014 to Joss Purbrick and Belinda Green, who are maintaining the tradition of attending every Clyde festival.

Leaning Rock Vineyard was also one of the original four stalls at the festival. Owners Dhana Pillai  and Mark Hesson said they had attended every festival except last year’s.

Mr Hesson said the weather had always been great.

"We’ve had frosty mornings but never had rain to put us off," he said.

"In the early days there was more curiosity and more locals."

"Now, more people are coming from outside," Ms Pillai said.

There was a friendly atmosphere among the winegrowers in the Alexandra, Clyde and Earnscleugh region, she said.

"Amongst the locals it’s not that competitive and they’re pretty co-operative — we’re all on the same level.

"[The festival] is a good place to get together and share ideas."

Event convener Louise Joyce said over 3000 people attended yesterday’s  festival.

"We don’t want it to grow any bigger ...  the street couldn’t cope."

She said the festival went well and patrons seemed "extremely happy".

Profits from the event  would help  several community projects, the biggest being completing the mural in the Daphne Hull Subway, the underpass under State Highway 8 that links Clyde to the Otago Central Rail Trail.


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