The new NSW Wine Festival programme (formerly NSW Wine Week) is on track to be a huge success with the opening weekend's festivities – Sydney Cellar Door – attracting the biggest attendance ever. The number of wine and food lovers converging on Sydney's Hyde Park South this Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th February was up on last year with an estimated crowd well in excess of 30,000, and many of the 100+ winemakers showcasing their wines reporting sales more than double those in 2010.
This was the fourth year that NSW Wine has hosted Sydney Cellar Door but the first year that visitors have had two days (a full weekend) to experience and discover wines for our State's amazingly diverse wine regions. It was also the first time that the talented team behind the Sydney International Food Festival have been involved dramatically increasing the variety and quality of food and entertainment on offer throughout the weekend.
James Agnew, Chair of NSW Wine Strategy and Director at Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard, says "Sydney Cellar Door was a massive success and shows that the new format and improvements made to the event this year have been really well received by Sydney. We still have a few figures to collect, but early indications are that most exhibitors saw a good increase in visitors to their stalls, with some experiencing subsequent wine sales of over 300% more than in the previous year! This proves that the city's wine-lovers are not only interested in learning about the diversity of NSW's 14 fabulous wine regions but are also happy to put their money where their tastebuds are."
The success of the weekend reflects the recently released Nielsen figures which show that sales of NSW bottled wine in NSW retail outlets are experiencing continued year on year growth, reaching yet another record high of $82.1 million for 2010, up an outstanding 18.3% or $12.7 million from the previous year! Impressively, over half the growth achieved falls within the super-premium $20+ bottle category, confirming NSW wine drinkers' growing appreciation for the quality of their State's product.
The opening event's success also bodes well for the rest of NSW Wine Festival. Celebrations don't end here and there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy the extended 2011 NSW Wine Festival throughout the month of March (Feb 26th – March 31st) including:
· Dine with NSW Wine
Throughout March, participating restaurants will offer a special lunch or dinner meal matched with a glass of premium NSW Wine for under $50. Participants include: Azuma, Number One Wine Bar, Catalina Rose Bay, Golden Century, Bathers' Pavilion, Ormeggio, and a number of regional NSW restaurants such as Silo in Newcastle, Eschalot in Berry and Arnott's Bakehouse in the Hunter.
· NSW Wine at The Sydney Morning Herald Growers' Market ~ Saturday 5th March 2011
To celebrate the NSW Wine Festival, the ever popular Growers' Market, held on the first Saturday of every month at Pyrmont Bay Park, will be transforming the regular Market Chef stage into the Market Wine stage. The stage will for one month only feature not one but two of Australia's most respected wine gurus. Monthly MC Joanna Savill will be joined by Sydney Morning Herald wine authority Huon Hooke as well as the author of the SMH/Age Good Wine Guide, Nick Stock.
Even better news – these leading Australian wine commentators will also be joined by many of the State's talented winemakers, including Jeff Byrne from Audrey Wilkinson and Duane Roy from Glandore, who will treat lucky market goers to guided tastings of premium NSW wines. This expert panel will offer commentary and wine tips as well as advice on pairing wines with delicious tidbits provided by key food producers at the market.
What goes with goat's cheese (Nugan Estate Durif or Tyrrell's Shiraz?), smoked fish pate (Scarborough Chardonnay or Logan Rose?) and Indian samosas (Glandore Tempranillo or Cumulus Luna Rosa Rosado?) Find out at the NSW Wine Festival Market!
Make sure you are there at 9 am and 10am to purchase your $5 tasting glass and be part of the tasting sessions.
Market details: The Sydney Morning Herald Growers' Market is held on the first Saturday of every month at Pyrmont Bay Park on Pirrama Road, from 7 am to 11 am. Every month features around 80 stalls offering everything from fresh fruit and seasonal vegetables to lamb, beef, pork and seafood.