Few in this region would have had a better night than those packed into a marquee at Te Awa Winery on Saturday.

We were there for a trans-Tasman duel over wine making - specifically, the annual Colliers International Grape Debate, with the moot being "Australia makes better wine than New Zealand".

At the end of the night I'm not sure whether that was established - but the points throughout the contest, moderated (which if you were there you'd agree was the wrong word) by funny man Jeremy Corbett, made for top-shelf entertainment.

Read more: Bigger Grape Debate hopes to raise big bucks for chopper
Aussies take down Kiwis with wit over wines

Advertisement

Eventually named winners, the Australian team was comprised of first speaker Jane Ferrari (which if you were there you'd agree was an apt surname) of Yalumba, Gwyneth Olsen of Pepper Tree Wines and Alexia Roberts of Penny Hill Wines.

Ferrari was sublime, as fair dinkum as it gets and genuinely funny.

Her redress, including that Kiwi wine had the bouquet of canned asparagus (after being told Aussie wine was as alluring as a stay in Nauru's Immigration Detention Centre) was so ruthless and well delivered it prompted Corbett to proclaim: "She just won the debate".

Other highlights were the New Zealand team's third speaker Kim Crawford of Loveblock Wines, who gratuitously reminded the audience that 95 percent of Australia's kangaroos had chlamydia (later corrected to koalas), and the question put to local second speaker and Urban Winery founder Tony Bish, how can he have an "urban" winery in a city the size of Napier?

First speaker Richard Painter of Te Awa Winery said while Aussie had a ranging 65 wine regions, "it clearly hadn't found one that works".

Ferrari, who deserved the last word, asked, if Aussie wine was so bad, then "why do you blokes drink more of our shiraz than we do?"

Aussie had Ferrari to thank for the win. Their second speaker, Roberts, threatened to derail the team with a lengthy matrix of flaccid facts. However, it was a deserved win from what turned out to be a one-woman team.

It's expected about $30,000 was raised, which is earmarked for the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter.

Is fabulous to know our flagship industry can both make us laugh and garner funds for its local community.

Bring on next year.