Love of food and wine and the region it comes from is a key motivator for Toast Martinborough's new director, Anna Nielson.
Ten thousand tickets went on sale yesterday for the annual event which will run this year on Sunday, November 15.
Mrs Nielson co-founded Wellington on a Plate festival with Sarah Meikle, "in the middle of a recession", and has been to roughly 10 of the 24 Toast Martinborough events including - she can't remember which - either the first or second ever event back in 1991.
She was also the organiser of the Gate to Plate competition last year, and says the common factor behind all these events is a love of food and wine. The Greytown resident describes Wellington on a Plate, which runs in the latter half of August each year, as "essentially a buy local campaign".
That festival "is a whole lot of little events, whereas Toast is one big event.
"At the end of the day, both are about celebrating local wine and food.
"It's a privilege to work in a job promoting that industry."
Mrs Nielson describes the Greater Wellington region as "the culinary capital of New Zealand.
"That includes Wairarapa, because Wairarapa is where the product comes from."
At Toast, skilled chefs and top restaurants from Wairarapa will use local produce, but so do those who come from over the hill.
A top food-related feature this year is a seafood cooking demonstration by Martin Bosley at Escarpment Vineyard. Palliser Estate will be catered by Salute of Greytown, and Mrs Nielson was excited about the presence of top Wellington caterers such as Ruth Pretty at Ata Rangi and WBC at Dry River.
Music will include the Warratahs, the Rodger Fox Big Band and top Wellington cover band the Noodles. Ata Rangi Vineyard, famous for its pinot noir, will be hosting barrel tastings of the 2015 vintage.
"Of course it's daunting," Mrs Nielson says of assuming responsibility for the event. "It's a great tradition, it's an iconic event ... they're big shoes to fill."
Much work goes on "behind the scenes out of sight" to ensure a successful event from the earliest publicity, "right down to making sure the rubbish is collected the following day".
In the past two years, vineyards have faced extra challenges due to changes to the Sale and Supply of Liquor Act.
Essentially, each vineyard must apply individually for a liquor licence and comply with conditions as any other licensed premises.
"I think that's the nature of where events are going," Mrs Nielson said, who adds her sole focus is "providing a safe and enjoyable event.
"We've been been working effectively with police, St John, and our security firm - it's a collective effort, and we've drawn on the expertise and knowledge of the people involved."
Toast Martinborough is unique because it provides "essentially nine different events in a day.
"With Cafe Medici and the Warratahs, it's organic, with such a sense of land, a sense of place."
-The $70 tickets are now on sale at Ticketek.