Wine enthusiasts got to mix with the top players of the region's wine industry last night at a pre-tasting event special for the sold out Hawke's Bay Wine Auction.

The winemakers and owners of the 40 "specially blended" and "unique" wines showcased their lots to the 160 lucky ticket holders.

Event organiser, Annabel Tapley-Smith, said the pre-tasting sold out in just two days and it was amazing for those enthusiasts who wanted to investigate the lots in an intimate setting before the auction.

"People can see what they want to bid on and with only 160 people here they can also talk with the winemakers and owners of each lot."


Chairman of the auction, Tony Bish, said this was the 25th year and it was a great chance to celebrate how much the community has given and the work Cranford Hospice do.

"We have had amazing support from our sponsors and we have had a record amount this year from the industry with unique wine and art," Mr Bish said.

Ms Tapley-Smith said because of this support from sponsors and the wine making fraternity they were able to run to a "break even" budget with it all going directly to Cranford Hospice.

Founder of the event, Hospice patron and leading wine exponent, John Buck, said the event was not merited on glam but rather about the quality of the industry and its involvement with the community.

"If you're in a business you have to give back and this has been hugely successful for that. The auction has a good base, which we can continue to build on."

He said what Hawke's Bay did so well was produce collectible wines that only got better with age.

"This rules out a lot of New Zealand, like the Marlborough sauvignon blanc, as people come to the auction to buy lots that end up in the cellar and only grow in value."

Tim Nowell-Ustike the managing director of Wineworks, the principal sponsor, said it was their role in the industry to support the winemakers with what they want to do, which is to be vibrant and successful.

"We are supporting wine through a cultural, financial and community role. It is a good fit for us, as we want to help winemakers help the community."

The auction, held in support of Cranford Hospice and supported by Hawke's Bay Today, is at the Hawke's Bay Opera House on Saturday, November 12.