Hawke's Bay's vineyards hosted international wine experts this weekend as part of the Hawke's Bay Wine Celebration Event programme.

The small group of 18 wine sommeliers, writers, and enthusiasts roamed through the wine-making sub-regions enjoying a showcase of the regions best wines.

Elisha Milmine of Hawke's Bay Wine said the celebration brought international guests through the region, and helped them build relationships with wineries.

"We educate them about this great wine-growing region, and it means the wineries can build relationships with them as well."


Guests came from as far afield as the Netherlands, and included the 2013 sommelier of the year, Markus Berlinghof from Germany, and wine writer for Forbes.com, Cathy Huyghe.

Visiting from the United Kingdom, wine critic and judge Robert Joseph said it was great to see so many Hawke's Bay wine producers pulling together.

"It's terrific that they are thinking beyond simply pouring their wine and talking about soils, oak and acidity.

"I think this event has given the visitors an extraordinary brief insight into the past, present and future of a great region and quality wine".

Ms Milmine said the guests had been very grateful, and said they loved the weekend.
Their event was capped off with a wine-tasting crawl.

Visitors were given a showcase of 2013 Hawke's Bay red wines hosted by winemakers and principals at Black Barn.

The red wine showcase continued into the evening at Trinity Hill, followed by "dinner in the vines" at Ngatarawa wines.

On Sunday and Monday participants had been split into teams for a wine-amazing race, where they raced from sub-region to sub-region searching for clues.

Escorted by winery representatives, teams performed challenges at Elephant Hill Vineyard, identified sub-regional wine from the top of Te Mata peak , and tested themselves with blind taste tests.

After being in New Zealand for about two weeks and sitting through multiple wine symposium's, Ms Milmine said the race was something a bit different.