Organisers ready to toast success

Organisers for tomorrow's Central Otago Pinot Noir celebration in Queenstown say with strong ticket sales and wine aficionados flying in from around the world, the event is shaping up to be a "raging success".

The celebration, held every second year, will feature the wine world's leading writers and commentators sipping Central Otago's finest with wine and food enthusiasts from across the globe.

Central Otago Pinot Noir committee member Ruenell Wing said 25 VIPs would attend, including critically acclaimed wine writers from the UK, US and Asia.

"We're all looking forward to it and it's been a lot of hard work, but it looks set to be a raging success as it always is," she said.

The theme for the 2011 installment is "A Question of Vintage", and a panel of winemakers and international pinot noir specialists would lead the two days of tastings and wine experiences, which were designed to showcase the best of Central Otago, she said.

Up to 40 Central Otago wineries will be involved, including Gibbston Valley Wines, Rippon Vineyard and Peregrine Wines.

Committee member Richard Broadhead said ticket sales for the event were now closed, but figures were similar to the 2009 event.

"We're getting down to the nitty gritty now, allocating people into groups, but we always target about 200 guests and we've ended up with 175 this year," Mr Broadhead said.

The 2009 event attracted 182 people and this year's tickets cost between $1196 and $1380, he said.

Based at the Millennium Hotel, in Queenstown, guests will be split into groups for various wine-centred festivities during the three days, finishing with the grand dinner and charitable auction at Skyline Restaurant on Saturday.


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