Every wine lover’s dream comes true in the heart of New Zealand’s Wairarapa region, where the Martinborough Wine Festival takes center stage. This annual extravaganza celebrates the finest wines, local culture, and scenic beauty, making it a must-visit event for enthusiasts and tourists alike. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about the Martinborough Wine Festival, from its rich history to what to expect on your visit.

History of the Martinborough Wine Festival

The Martinborough Wine Festival has a storied history that dates back to its inception in 1982. Originally known as the ‘Martinborough Fair,’ it was primarily an artisan and craft fair. However, it didn’t take long for the festival to recognize the potential of the local wine industry, and in 1987, the event officially transformed into the Martinborough Wine Festival. Since then, it has grown exponentially, attracting wine connoisseurs from all over the world.

Location and Setting

One of the festival’s standout features is its idyllic location. Martinborough, a charming town located in the Wairarapa region of New Zealand’s North Island, is renowned for its picturesque vineyards and breathtaking landscapes. The festival takes place in the heart of this wine paradise, with local wineries opening their doors to visitors.

Key Highlights

  • Wine Tasting: The Martinborough Wine Festival is, first and foremost, a celebration of wine. Visitors can indulge in tastings of award-winning wines from the region’s renowned wineries. It’s the perfect opportunity to sample some of New Zealand’s finest Pinot Noirs, Sauvignon Blancs, and Chardonnays.
  • Food Pairings: To complement the wine, the festival offers a delectable array of local cuisine. From gourmet platters to street food stalls, you’ll find an assortment of dishes that perfectly accompany the wines you’ll be savoring.
  • Live Entertainment: The festival boasts an exciting lineup of live music and entertainment, providing the perfect backdrop for your wine-filled day. Enjoy the sounds of local bands and artists as you sip and savor.
  • Art and Craft Stalls: While wine takes center stage, the Martinborough Wine Festival hasn’t forgotten its artisan fair origins. Explore the craft stalls featuring handmade jewelry, art, clothing, and more – the perfect opportunity for souvenir shopping.
  • Vineyard Tours: For those eager to delve deeper into the world of winemaking, many wineries offer guided tours during the festival. Learn about the winemaking process, from grape to bottle, and gain insights into the unique terroir of Martinborough.
  • Family-Friendly Activities: The Martinborough Wine Festival is not just for adults. Families are welcome, and there are plenty of activities to keep kids entertained, from face painting to games and rides.

Martinborough Wine Festival 2023: What to Expect

Groups of people sitting on park benches, surrounded by lush greenery, at a wine festival.

The Martinborough Wine Festival in 2023 promises to be an unforgettable experience. Here’s what you can look forward to:

  • Wineries Galore: With over 20 participating wineries, you’ll have a wide selection of wines to taste. Each winery offers a unique experience, so be sure to plan your route accordingly.
  • Delicious Food: Foodies will rejoice at the culinary offerings available throughout the festival. From local delicacies to international cuisine, there’s something for every palate.
  • Live Music: The festival’s entertainment lineup will keep you grooving all day long. Enjoy the sounds of talented local musicians as you sip your wine.
  • Artisanal Finds: The craft stalls are a treasure trove of one-of-a-kind items. Whether you’re shopping for gifts or souvenirs, you’re bound to find something special.


The Martinborough Wine Festival is a celebration of wine, culture, and community that should be on every wine lover’s bucket list. With its stunning setting, an abundance of wine and food options, live entertainment, and family-friendly atmosphere, it’s an event that promises a memorable experience. So, mark your calendar for the next Martinborough Wine Festival and get ready to raise your glass to the finest wines New Zealand has to offer in this wine lover’s paradise.


1. When is the Martinborough Wine Festival held?

The Martinborough Wine Festival typically takes place in early February. Be sure to check the official festival website for the exact dates each year.

2. How do I purchase tickets?

Tickets can be purchased online through the official festival website or at select retail outlets in Martinborough.

3. Are children allowed at the festival?

Yes, the Martinborough Wine Festival is family-friendly, and there are activities for children, making it a great day out for the whole family.

4. Can I bring my own food and drinks?

Outside food and drinks are generally not allowed within the festival grounds. However, with a wide range of culinary options available, you won’t need to bring your own.

5. Is transportation available to and from Martinborough?

Many visitors choose to stay in nearby towns like Wellington and take a shuttle or drive to Martinborough for the festival. Plan your transportation in advance, as accommodations in Martinborough tend to fill up quickly during the festival weekend.

6. Are there designated drivers or transportation options for those who plan to indulge in wine tasting?

Yes, the festival encourages responsible drinking. Designated driver tickets are available at a reduced rate, and various transportation options, including shuttles and taxis, are available for those who wish to enjoy the festival without worrying about driving.