Between tastings, the crowd were entertained by the likes of the Peter Urlich band and Tani Neilson. Photo Peter Rees

Well over 2000 people took the opportunity to sample wine from 18 island vineyards and food from eight local artisan providors at the Fullers Waiheke Wine and Food Festival on Saturday.

The musical mix, featuring jazz standards from the Peter Urlich Band and soulful country from Tami Neilson and her band, seemed to pace the relaxed crowd through the warm autumnal afternoon in the sheltered setting of Onetangi valley.

Heavy midweek rain had left The Airstrip venue at Te Motu Vineyard soggy underfoot. But a seemingly endless supply of hay bales scattered over the worst patches saved the day.
Several food vendors had the ‘sold out’ signs up towards the end, indicating wine lovers had paced themselves sensibly through the vast tasting choices.

The festival’s popularity saw long queues at the downtown terminal for morning sailings and full buses leaving Matiatia. But as the event wound down, Fullers had plenty of special buses on hand to send everyone home happy. • Geoff Cumming

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