Wine lovers got a chance last night to pre-sample a line-up of 40 mostly unique wine blends that will be up for grabs in a month's time at the 24th annual Hawke's Bay Wine Auction.
The tasting was held in the Gatsby Room at the Art Deco Masonic Hotel in Naper.
This year's auction will be held at the Hawke's Bay Opera House Plaza on Saturday, November 14 and proceeds from the auction will go to Cranford Hospice.
Last night was a chance to sample some of the lots that will be going under the hammer. The Hawke's Bay Wine Auction is the oldest wine auction in New Zealand and was established in 1991.
On average, it has annually raised more than $100,000 and is supported by the Hawke's Bay Wine industry providing auction wine lots at no cost.
Event organiser Annabel Tapley-Smith was delighted with the quality of wines in the auction event.
"It is great to see the wineries have put thought and consideration into their auction lots, with many going back to offering larger barrel quantities, as this ultimately raises the bar and should generate more funds for Cranford Hospice," Ms Tapley-Smith said.
"There is a very strong association amongst individual winemakers and producers with this event and wine auction lots are selected and submitted with a great deal of thought, consideration and generosity.
"Cranford Hospice has always been the sole beneficiary of the Hawke's Bay Wine Auction and [the auction] is run in conjunction with Hawke's Bay Winegrowers."
Kate Radburnd of Pask Winery was part of the inaugural auction 24 years ago.
"We were talking about how to raise the profile of Hawke's Bay wines while contributing to a worthy cause," Ms Radburnd said. "The auction is a great opportunity to showcase our world-famous wines. We decided on Cranford Hospice as our charity of choice as they always need funding and provide an amazing service."
Ms Radburnd said Hawke's Bay wines have such diversity, variety and style it sets them apart on the international stage.
"It's no secret that we produce world-class wines, the quality on offer tonight is just outstanding."
General manager of Cranford Hospice Helen Blaxland said she was humbled by the annual contribution from the wine industry.
"From the artists, to the growers to the winemakers and sponsors, people give because they care. We can't express enough how grateful we are."
Ms Blaxland said the Bay was privileged to produce fine wine and provide a beautiful environment in which to enjoy it.
Over 40 wineries have donated lots for the 2015 auction.
James Medina from Hawke's Bay Winegrowers said he was thrilled with the profile this event was giving to Hawke's Bays wine industry.
"This is our opportunity to showcase the hard work that our winegrowers have put into their grapes and shows that Hawke's Bay continues to produce high quality wines that are unique and interesting".