If there was ever a time for wine, it would be a Friday in winter.
It's befitting then, that the country's largest wine tasting event – Winetopia presented by Singapore Airlines – will transform Auckland's Shed 10 this coming Friday, boasting a whole host of local wine producers, artisans, experts and entertainment to set even the most devout wine connoisseur into a spin.
With over 673 vineyards and cellar doors sprinkled throughout our glorious country, when it comes to brushing up on your wine knowledge, it can all feel a little overwhelming. In a bid to prepare you for one of our favourite weekends on the annual food and wine calendar, we've curated the ultimate foodie's guide.
With something to cater to everyone's tastes, here are four reasons why the pilgrimage to Winetopia is well-worth it.
1. The food on offer is impressive.
This year's event will feature a number of local food artisans and acclaimed eateries, in a bid to keep you fed throughout a fabulous weekend of food and wine pairings. We suggest you grab a bite between Masterclasses. Consider dumplings from Akemi's Gyoza, a toasted sandwich from the Toastie Bros or a moreish Food Snob cheese and antipasto platter.
The team from Salash Delicatessen will be on hand with charcuterie boards at the ready, while Regal Salmon, olives and chicken liver parfait by uni-Ko will be well within reach throughout the duration of the weekend. Need we say more?
2. It's not just about the wine – there's craft beer on tap.
With the Kiwi craft beer scene evolving in recent years into a verified hub of producers and world-class brewers, it's little surprise then that Wellington's Garage Project will be on-hand to keep the resident beer-drinker happy.
Pete Gillespie, Jos Ruffell and Ian Gillespie started Garage Project five years ago, a brand now synomous with quality craft beer. The trio from the capital will be satisfying punters on site at Shed 10 all weekend long.
3. Even a seasoned wine connoisseur will learn something new.
Winetopia will boast a full line-up of insightful talks and Masterclasses. From Friday right through to Saturday evening, talks and tastings will be lead by special guest speakers.
Masterclasses by New Zealand's own Master of Wine Emma Jenkins and renowned Australian wine expert Nick Stock will also allow you to indulge in the deeper joys of wine. Learn from these industry gurus and expect to be enthralled throughout exclusive 40–minute interactive talks and complimentary tastings.
Spiegelau will also be on-hand to teach you how the right glass will improve both the taste and aroma of any wine you drink with a dedicated Masterclass.
4. There's plenty to keep you entertained.
Fancy a musical treat to go along with all that delicious wine? Guests will be treated to not only an impressive line-up of expert speakers, but invited to "Share a Glass" with Brendhan Lovegrove and a host of well-known, wine-loving Kiwi personalities. Rugby legend Sir John Kirwan, Kiwi musicians Boh Runga and Peter Urlich as well as Kiwi politician Chloe Swarbrick, will all be on site for a series of chats.
Each session will finish with Hopetoun Brown and the Genius of Finn Scholes with an eclectic mix of jazz, blues, rock and roll plus a pinch of country.
Winetopia (Auckland) will kick off on Friday 9 and run until Saturday June 10. Winetopia (Wellington) will commence on Friday July 14 – final timetable to be announced shortly. To secure your tickets or learn more about Winetopia, visit their website here.