Tickets go on sale today for Gisborne’s major Labour Weekend event – the First Light Wine & Food festival. The second annual event is part of Gisborne’s Wine & Food Weekend, a key weekend on the Gisborne calendar for attracting tourists and a popular weekend for locals celebrating the start of the summer season. The First Light event carries on last year’s successful format of travelling around the vineyard sites on complimentary buses to enjoy great wine and stunning vistas at Matawhero and TW Wines. “This year we are excited to announce a third venue for the event, the newly re-opened Bridge Estate which was purchased by the Fergus Family” says Georgina Kemp, event co-ordinator.

“We are thrilled to have Bridge Estate open for wine tasting, food and functions and look forward to being part of this wonderful day” says Tracy Fergus.

Guests from around New Zealand are expected to make up a great proportion of the 2000 tickets available, based on last year’s sales.

“The quality of the food and wine available here is a credit to the region and a major factor in the festival’s popularity” says Kirsten Searle, General Manager of Matawhero Wines.

“Gisborne is renowned for its fresh produce and beautiful wines, and this event showcases some great examples of that to the ticket holders. We also have great traditions of lovely warm Spring weather in October, so visitors are likely in for a treat over Labour Weekend” he said.

“People are really excited for the event” says event co-founder Paul Tietjen from TW Wine. “The Gisborne Wine & Food Festival has always been known for a great day out and a wonderful opportunity to experience a taste of Gisborne, and we plan to continue that tradition at the First Light Wine & Food. The bus tour around the wineries and the gorgeous venues on offer make for a fun afternoon for friends – and we even have a cheese and chocolate tent this year”.

The event organisers have also chosen to offer a sober driver ticket this year, for those people who choose to drive rather than take the bus service included in the general admission ticket. The venues want to ensure the safety of the guests and host responsibility is paramount at the event and offering a sober drive admission ticket supports these objectives.

The event includes entry to the three venues Matawhero, TW Wines and Bridge Estate, all who have lovely vineyard surroundings to enjoy the afternoon. A ticket ($45 general admission, $30 sober driver) gets the attendee access to the event from 12pm through to 7.30pm and a commemorative wine glass to be used to sample the many varietals and award-winning wines on offer, plus guests can take the glass home with them.

“Gisborne is the perfect location for a great wine and food weekend away. It’s got ample green space, great beaches and surf, reliable warm weather, and walking access to many hotels, restaurants, attractions and shops for our attendees to enjoy before and after the festival,” says Matawhero general manager Kirsten Searle.

“We have 2000 tickets available this year,” says Georgina Kemp, event co-ordinator. “We expect these to move quickly based on the great value offered to people for the ticket price – three venues, transportation around all the venues, live entertainment all afternoon and gorgeous settings to relax in – all for only $45.”

“This event celebrates some of the award-winning wines and locally made foods that Gisborne has to offer, all in beautiful rustic vineyard settings – a real drawcard for people wanting to enjoy a taste of Gisborne. It’s about time they got to this part of New Zealand! TW Wines owner Geordie Witters laughs. Visit for more information.



Sunday October 21, 2018 (12pm – 7.30pm)


TW Wines, 1121 Back Ormond Road

Matawhero Wines, 189 Riverpoint Road

Bridge Estate, 16 Riverpoint Road


Online: visit to purchase tickets.

(Includes souvenir wine glass)

General Admission Sober Driver Ticket $30

(Includes souvenir glass)

Founded in 2017, First Light Wine & Food is based out of Gisborne and owned by Matawhero Wines, TW Wines and Bridge Estate who are all co-owners of the event and venues at the event. The festival is held annually on the Sunday of Labour Weekend (Labour Day is celebrated on the fourth Monday of October each year) in Gisborne on the East Coast of New Zealand. Organizers expect 2,000 attendees who can enjoy over 12 wine varietals, superb local cuisine and live entertainment all afternoon whilst they enjoy award-winning wines in a beautiful vineyard setting.

The event is a based on a multi-vineyard format that can be accessed by car or the bus service which is included in the general admission ticket. The bus service departs the Gisborne i-Site from 11.30am through to 1.30pm heading to each venue location. The buses will continue between each venue from 1.30pm to 5.30pm and then start returning to the i-Site between 5.30pm and 7.30pm.

We are lucky to have GoBus on board as the bus service provider, and ProTraffic providing Traffic Management services to the event.

About the Local Cuisine

There are three food vendors supporting the event – one at each venue.


Flagship is known for good food, good coffee, friendly service and general good vibes. They will be located at the Barn at TW Wines and will be serving a selection of their tasty lunch items including their famous bagels and bao buns and yummy sharing platters.


Reka is a small, talented crew of chefs who have created dishes for many years around the motu and now here in beautiful Turanganui-a-kiwa – Gisborne. Reka will be located at Bridge Estate serving a selection of meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes with assorted sides and sauces.


Smokehouse Cuisine has recently been purchased by its passionate Gisborne owners and specialises in exquisite smoked meals. Smokehouse will be located at the Matawhero Cellar Door serving a selection of smoked meats and seafood in sandwiches, flatbreads and salads as well as fritters and dessert items.

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