Unique wine blends and experiences will be up for grabs at the Hawke's Bay Wine Auction this afternoon.

The 26th annual event will have 44 lots including wines, special winery dinners and an artwork to raise money for Cranford Hospice.

More than 600 wine lovers are expected at the sold-out event at the Hawke's Bay Opera House Plaza.

Project manager Annabel Tapley-Smith said there were so many great items and experiences up for grabs that she could not pick any favourites.


"I think there's really amazing lots this year.

"It's a little bit difficult to single them out, they're all amazing. There's something for everyone.

"I do think among the offerings that are being made available there's loads of unique blends you can never buy again and you can buy a lot of wine experiences."

Ben Pearce's sculpture Aspect 1, which is made of Corten steel, for the art lot is "amazing", she said.

Sixty per cent of the guests were coming from outside Hawke's Bay and would be making the most of a weekend in the region by going to wineries, staying in accommodation and attending some F.A.W.C! Food and Wine Classic's 2017 Summer Series events.

Some of the patrons had bid every year and others would form syndicates with their friends or workplaces to save thousands over the year and see what they could win, Ms Tapley-Smith said.

The event sold out yesterday and kicked off with an Icons & Legends Workshop with Peter Hubscher, Barry Browne (both formerly of Church Road) and Church Road winemaker Chris Scott last night.

Cranford Hospice chief executive Janice Byford-Jones said the auction gave great exposure to Hawke's Bay's wine industry as well as raising the most money in a single event for the hospice each year.


"It's a premiere event that's awesome.

"We are humbled when the community comes together like this to be able to donate time and expertise and items for our cause.

"It helps us support and serve the community."

The money made a huge difference to the running of the hospice to ensure patients and their families could be supported during a difficult time without having to worry about paying, she said.

Some of this year's money will be used to employ another medical officer and a couple of nurses.

Preparations for the auction had been ongoing since the previous event and involved more than 80 local businesses, who had pitched in to ensure all auction proceeds were donated to the cause.

Ms Tapley-Smith said in 2015 the Hawke's Bay Wine Auction reached $140,000, last year a record-breaking $180,000 was raised for Cranford Hospice and more than $200,000 is expected this year.

The unique wine blends up for auction were put to the test at a pre-tasting event at Art Deco Masonic Hotel on October 12.

The tasting of auction lot wines will begin at 1pm today, accompanied by viewing of Ben Pearce's sculpture, canapes by Dish Catering and two bars.

The auction will start at 2.45pm, run by auctioneer and Harcourts New Zealand chief executive Chris Kennedy.