Matt McCrorie

While for some it might have left a sour taste after the annual wine and food festival had to be cancelled earlier this year, organisers say that it was still something of a success.

The Annual Wine and Food Festival, organised as a fundraising event by Rotary Richmond and held at Middle Earth Vineyards in Brightwater, was scheduled for Sunday 17 February but cancelled due to high fire risk during the drought and Pigeon Valley forest fires.

The decision came after discussions with Civil Defence and the Tasman District Council.

The organising committee has said that the risk of fire and the fatigue of volunteers already helping battle the forest fire meant that the best option was to cancel the event.

The event was the Rotary’s main fundraiser, and even though circumstances meant it had to be cancelled, it was still something of a fundraising success.

Hospice Nelson Tasman was the principal charity, and presale tickets meant that money was still able to be raised for the charity.

“Many people told us to keep their money from presale tickets, as they knew it was going back into the community and going towards a good cause,” said Cynthia Martin, a spokesperson for the club.

“We are trying to thank the public, a lot people worked quite hard – an awful lot of work went into the festival.”

While the festival was shaping up to be one of the best yet, with top food and entertainment, safety to the public was paramount.

“We still managed to raise some good money for the hospice, Its still nice to come up with something.”

However, planning is now well underway for the 2020 Food and Wine Festival. The festival originally started at the A&P showgrounds in Richmond, and although it moved to Middle Earth Vineyards, 2020 marks a return to the original venue.

“Since the fires we have had to look for another venue – we are returning to the showgrounds because of the central location, there is also plenty of parking, not only for cars but for motor homes too,” Cynthia said.

“We were disappointed that we had to cancel this year, but a lot of people are looking forward to next year’s festival even more

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