Hospitality Business Magazine

Explore raises a glass to Waiheke Wine and Food Festival 

rsz_waiheke_food_and_wineWaiheke ferry operator Explore Group continues to make waves on the Hauraki Gulf becoming naming rights sponsor of the Waiheke Wine & Food Festival.

The three-year commitment to the April festival reflects Explore’s growing market share on the competitive Waiheke route and the company’s on-going support and dedication to the island community.

“Since we started in late 2014 we have steadily made our mark and received huge support from the local Waiheke community, and Aucklanders in general, and supporting an event like the Waiheke Wine and Food Festival is our way of giving something back,” says Explore CEO, Kit Nixon. 

Explore already work closely with a number of Waiheke vineyards as part of its on board Wine of the Month promotion, and it has forged relationships with other local businesses and suppliers including stocking Wild On Waiheke’s Baroona craft beer on board its vessels. 

Mr Nixon says supporting the festival means Explore have a great opportunity to develop these relationships and to help grow and promote local Waiheke businesses further. 

“It’s a real coup for Explore to be part of a growing festival that celebrates wine and food and it’s a perfect fit for us in light of the high quality travel experience, hospitality, and comfort our new vessels have bought to the Hauraki Gulf.”

Waiheke Winegrowers Association chairman, Craig Biggs, says they are thrilled to be working with Explore Group to develop and promote the new look festival. “The three year commitment from Explore is a long term strategic approach that will allow us to deliver an exciting festival programme that highlights Waiheke’s world class wine and food. 

“It’s our expectation that this partnership will allow the festival to go from strength to strength and become a must do on everyone’s festival calendar,” he says. 

The festival, on April 2, is a unique opportunity to taste wines from 15 different Waiheke Island vineyards in one location at Te Motu “The Airstrip”. 

Many Waiheke Island food producers will also be offering tastings and selling their wares. As well as food and wine matching, and live music performances, a number of Waiheke winemakers will be giving wine education talks throughout the afternoon. In addition to the main Festival day there will be many wine, food and music events happening at individual vineyards during the Festival week from March 30 to April 3rd. 

Tickets to the Festival Day will be sold via the Explore Waiheke website, and are $85 which includes a festival ticket, Explore ferry tickets, return transfer to Te Motu (The Airstrip) and a glass of wine on arrival.