It was a weekend of delightful dining, fun, fires and fine wine as Hawke's Bay's Food and Wine Classic kick-started its winter series.
From Friday people braved the cold to pack restaurants, wineries and marquees for some beautifully innovative offerings - with more to be rolled out every weekend until the end of June.
All events across Friday, Saturday and yesterday were at capacity or very close to it, Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas said.
"We had only a handful of tickets left to some of the bigger events. Next weekend is looking the same with only a handful for things like Edible Fashion which is, of course, a bigger event that we really encourage people to get along to."
With diners adopting F.A.W.C! summer series' "sexier little sister", people are starting to realise they have to get in quick or risk missing out on the more intimate events.
"A lot of them are disappointed when they miss out, but we just tell them you have to be in fast," Ms Dundas added.
Deliciosa teamed up with Advintage to ring in the event with Spanish-inspired El Fiesta de Invierno in Havelock North.
One of the early offerings to sell out, it was a who's who of locals mingling and mixing over warming red wine, tasty tapas and smooth guitar sounds.
The venue's drive-through was converted to a warm, ambient space with the theme cleverly carried through at every turn.
Craggy Range's Vintage of a Generation was another highlight - putting Hawke's Bay people among the first to taste the brand's 2013 Prestige Collection.
A proud Mary-Jeanne Hutchinson (nee Peabody) shared the release during a degustation dinner at Terroir Restaurant that delighted with fresh ingredients from the winery garden.
"The food was beautiful, the venue was stunning, the wine was stunning, it was all stunning," Ms Dundas said.
Over at Elephant Hill dinner was all about celebrating the season with three courses of beef, venison and produce prepared by Head Chef Ashley Jones.
The Scent of It with Rod McDonald at Te Awanga Estate on Saturday was another of the "seriously cool" concepts of F.A.W.C!
"It was all about wine and smell but there was also perfume - it was very interesting from a scent point of view."
A Medieval Feast at The Old Church saw people dress up and take a step back in time with hearty fare served on trestle tables, while Trinity Hill's Grill on Gimblett proved a hot favourite.
Sunshine showed up yesterday at For The Love of Opera at Sileni Estate guest starring husband and wife duo Anna Pierard (soprano) and Jose Aparicio (tenor) over a two-course lunch.
Winter F.A.W.C! events are smaller than those rolled out in summer but numbers are increasing with tickets about 80 per cent sold across the month.
-For more information on upcoming events see fawc.co.nz