Next month is fast becoming an important one for winegrowers around the Matakana Coast area. Not only do we watch with excitement as the new bright green shoots burst out on the vines, we also gear up for what seems to be turning into “festival month”.
Over the last few years, our members have been active in a number of events in October, in particular the Kowhai Festival in Warkworth and the Matakana Oyster Festival. With spring really kicking in, it’s a great time to get out and about and enjoy the warmer weather and local fare.
However, this year I don’t think I could continue this column any further without mentioning Covid-19 – it has been a thorn in all our sides and has caused the cancellation of several events, and that includes this year’s oyster festival. This is totally understandable considering its size as a gathering. Unfortunately, the effort that goes into big events could be undermined by a visit to Alert Level 3 again, so it makes sense that the organisers decided to pull the plug.
However, fear not, bivalve lovers. The Matakana Winegrowers and local oyster farmers have rallied together to keep at least the theme of oysters and wine alive for this October. We will be hosting a series of smaller events around the region, including a number of pop-up oyster bars at vineyard cellar doors such as Heron’s Flight, Matakana Estate and Brick Bay. These will be a perfect opportunity to try your favourite local wines and match them with freshly prepared oysters.
The winegrowers will also host a special wine and oyster tutored tasting on Sunday, October 4, at The Vintry wine bar in Matakana, which will see different oyster dishes matched with selected local wines. This was a highlight for people who attended last year’s oyster festival and seats will be limited, so be quick to book. The Vintry and Matakana Market Kitchen will also have special oyster and wine deals throughout October.
We’ll also be in Warkworth for the Kowhai Festival Huge Day Out on Sunday, October 18, so keep an eye out for our winegrowers’ bar down near the wharf. There is always a great array of food available and fantastic entertainment for this event.
And finally, oysters will again feature on November 1, when we host our second Matakana Winegrowers’ wine and movie night. The selected movie is a classic comedy drama from 1969, The Secret of Santa Vittoria. Anthony Quinn plays the hapless mayor of an Italian town that tries to hide one million bottles of wine from the Nazis. Hope to see you there.
Richard Robson, Matakana Winegrowers