The 42 unique wine blends for the 26th annual Hawke's Bay Wine Auction were put to the test last night at the pre-tasting event.

People were invited to taste the different wines in the Gatsby Room at the Art Deco Masonic Hotel put together by the Bay's premier wineries, with a "blend, a collection and an essence that will captivate everyone".

Event organiser Annabel Tapley-Smith was delighted with the quality of wines in the auction event and said it was great to see the wineries putting thought and consideration into their auction lots.

Read more: Bay winery nets three golds in New York


Hawke's Bay Wine Auction chairman Tony Bish was thrilled with the profile the event was giving to the Bay's wine industry and said it was an opportunity to showcase the hard work the winegrowers had put into their grapes.

"It shows that Hawke's Bay continues to produce high-quality wines that are unique and interesting."

There will be a variety of wines that people can never buy anywhere again after the event including two specially blended auction lots from Te Mata Estate, an Octo Barrique of 2016 Syrah by Rod McDonald Wines, a Quarter Barrique Single Vineyard Syrah from Alpha Domus, Julianne Brogden's six magnums of Ceresia 2013 merlot/ Cabernet Franc and the Craggy Range special half barrique of wine.

The auction also includes a feature artist, Ben Pearce, who is showcasing his Aspect 1 Corten Steel. His work explores how stacking of rock-like elements produces empathetic responses. The surface of Corten steel produces a rich rust which hardens the surfaces and in fact protects the underlying steel from corrosion.

For the first time last night a one-off auction item was up for grabs - a tribute lot called The Legacy Package, put together by some friends who wanted to recognised the hard work Cranford Hospice had shown their family members in the past.

The Legacy Package went for $15,000 and included flights to Los Angeles, accommodation in Beverley Hills, car hirage, a private dinner by Jeremy Rameka of the famed Pacifica Restaurant in LA and a diamond and emerald encrusted pine cone pendant by Glisten Jewellery.

All proceeds go to the Cranford Hospice Foundation Trust and tickets to the main auction event, to be held at the Hawke's Bay Opera House Plaza on Saturday November 11, have almost sold out. Absentee bidding and remaining tickets are available via the website: