A friendly army of red-coated Lions rugby tour supporters is expected in Martinborough. They will be treated to a Reds, Whites & Brews Festival to celebrate local menus matched with local red and white wines, and regional craft beer. 

“The Martinborough business community is going all out to tempt travelling rugby fans over the hill to the wine village this month,” says Lisa Cornelissen of Martinborough TOP 10 Holiday Park, and organiser for the voluntary group.   

“The Reds, Whites & Brews Festival (Tuesday 27 June- Tuesday 4 July) brings together over 30 participating businesses offering accommodation, activities, restaurants, cellar doors and retailers, so visitors can enjoy all that Martinborough and the Wairarapa have to offer,” 

“We love our special Reds, Whites & Brews rugby shirts that staff in cafes, restaurants and stores will wear, designed by local designer Mike “Dusty” Sleyer, of Dustys & Lulu. The design brings together rugby styling with the festival logo.

“It’s been so popular we have added a navy T-shirt version, which will be available at selected retailers,” Lisa explained. 

Reinforcing the theme, Martinborough Wine Merchants and participating wineries are offering a unique Martinborough’s 

First 15 Wines.  

“We know from the last tour that British and Irish Lions supporters appreciate the good things in life, like fine wine and food. So this is an easy way for our visitors to secure their own ‘First 15’ or ‘Reserves’ local wines for no-hassles delivery back in the UK” she said. 

The Martinborough Rugby Club will open the bar after training sessions to welcome visiting fans and provide a real heartland rugby experience.   

Local cafes and restaurants have had fun coming up with tempting “typically kiwi fare with a classy twist” to match with local wines or beer. Start those taste buds rumbling with a Paddock to Plate Grazing Platter at the colonial Martinborough Hotel, Pork Belly and Pinot Gris, Lamb & Mint Pie, classic cheese scones and Café Medici’s popular Thursday Seafood night. 

How about a pop-up from exclusive Wharekauhau Lodge? Pop along to Te Kairanga Wines vineyard in Martins Road for a relaxed lunch time treat from their renowned chef Marc Soper and his team, alongside award-winning Te Kairanga wines.  

Martinborough’s wide flat streets are ideal for cycling. It’s a relaxing experience and a great way to work up an appetite. Festival Gold sponsor Green Jersey Cycle Tours offers “lycra free” cycling with choices of solo, tandem, on a family bike, or a rickshaw (with or without someone else doing the heavy pedalling!). 

Less energetically, Martinborough Wine Tours takes you for a hosted wine tasting day in a minivan, with private access to interesting wine places.   

During the festival Martinborough’s tasting rooms will be open daily, with longer ‘festival’ hours to welcome visitors and encourage them to explore the breadth and depth of the Martinborough Wine Village. Many local wines, like Palliser Estate and Margrain, are widely available in the UK while others (like Poppies Martinborough) are only available on-site. There’s something for everyone, and naturally that includes some seriously smart shopping, like Peonies.

For something different, cycle or drive in to Olivo – the district’s oldest olive grove – for a taste of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and the innovative infused oils Olivo is famous for.   

All the details are on www.redswhitebrews.nz or www.facebook.com/redswhitesbrews2017/. 


PIC - Martinborough Rugby Club players (from left) James Pakoti, Alex Priest, Jacob Warren and Reuben Goodger. get into the Reds Whites & Brews Festival spirit, keen to score a winning Martinborough Breweries beer or two. Erina Wood Photography