More than 600 wine lovers will descend on the country's premier wine event this weekend for the 26th annual Hawke's Bay Wine Auction.
Held at the Hawke's Bay Opera House Plaza, the auction will draw together the region's most talented winemakers who have provided more than 40 lots of wine to be sold under the hammer, some specially blended for the occasion.
Preparations for the auction had been ongoing since the previous event, and involved more than 80 local businesses who pitched in to ensure all auction proceeds were donated to Cranford Hospice, project manager Annabel Tapley-Smith said.
In 2015 the Hawke's Bay Wine Auction reached $140,000 and last year a record-breaking $180,000 was raised for Cranford Hospice.
Ms Tapley-Smith hoped this year would reach $200,000.
"For us we're all about promoting Hawke's Bay wines and the exceptional value of the wines you can't get anywhere else, with the added value of giving to Cranford Hospice."
The project manager said the event ran to a break-even budget, relying on the goodwill of sponsors, and was the largest annual contributor to Cranford Hospice.
Funds raised were used to support the organisation's operating requirements and new projects, such as the recently-announced relocation of the hospice to a purpose built facility at Chesterhope.
While there was a "feel good" factor to bidding on the wine lots, Ms Tapley-Smith said some bidders were driven to get their hands on one-off wines.
She expected 60 per cent of attendees to come from out of town, adding it was becoming more common for people to form syndicates and pool their money over the course of the year so they had thousands to bid with.
A total 42 unique wine blends to be auctioned on Saturday afternoon were put to the test at a pre-tasting event at Art Deco Masonic Hotel on October 12.
Harcourts Hawke's Bay managing director Kaine Wilson said they were proud to support the auction, and in turn support Cranford Hospice.
"It is an absolute privilege to be able to assist Cranford Hospice. We are in awe of the work they do, as is everyone who has been touched by hospice and their incredible team."
Mr Wilson was excited the Harcourts Foundation had partnered with Hospice New Zealand to launch Hospice Grants Programme, with an initial donation of $55,000 and a pledge to provide ongoing support.
The tasting of auction lot wines will begin at 1pm on Saturday, accompanied by viewing of a sculpture created by Ben Pearce, canapes by Dish Catering and two bars.
The auction will start at 2.45pm, run by auctioneer and CEO of Harcourts New Zealand Chris Kennedy, and finish at 5pm.