Toast Martinborough is more than just a wine festival; it’s a celebration of fine wine, sumptuous food, and vibrant music, nestled in the picturesque town of Martinborough, New Zealand. This article takes you on a journey through the festival, particularly highlighting the unforgettable experiences of Toast Martinborough 2017, 2018, and 2019.

The Essence of Toast Martinborough

People at a table raising wine glasses in a toast

Toast Martinborough is an annual event that has earned a well-deserved reputation as one of New Zealand’s premier wine festivals. Attracting wine enthusiasts from all corners of the globe, it’s a day when the vineyards of Martinborough come alive with the sounds of laughter, music, and clinking glasses. Let’s explore what makes Toast Martinborough special, focusing on four key aspects: 

World-Class Wines

Martinborough’s vineyards are celebrated for producing world-class wines, with a particular emphasis on Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. These grape varieties thrive in Martinborough’s unique climate and terroir, resulting in wines of exceptional quality. Below is a table summarizing the characteristics of these wines:

Grape VarietyKey Characteristics
Pinot NoirDelicate flavors of red berries and earthy undertones. Elegant and well-structured with a silky texture. Aging potential that enhances complexity
ChardonnayRich and buttery with notes of citrus and tropical fruits.  Balanced acidity for a crisp finish. Versatile for both oaked and unoaked styles
Sauvignon BlancVibrant with intense aromas of green apples, gooseberries, and grass. Crisp and refreshing with zesty acidity. Ideal for New Zealand’s warm climate

These wines are a testament to the dedication and expertise of Martinborough’s winemakers, making Toast Martinborough a haven for wine connoisseurs seeking to savor the finest New Zealand has to offer.

Gourmet Food Pairings

One of the hallmarks of Toast Martinborough is the exquisite gourmet food pairings offered at each vineyard. Local chefs collaborate with winemakers to craft dishes that harmonize perfectly with the wines on offer. This synergy of culinary artistry and winemaking expertise elevates the tasting experience to new heights. Here are some notable food and wine pairings you can expect at Toast Martinborough:

  • Pinot Noir: Paired with duck confit on a bed of wild mushrooms and truffle oil. The earthy flavors of the Pinot Noir complement the richness of the duck.
  • Chardonnay: Served alongside seared scallops with a lemon-butter sauce. The crisp acidity of Chardonnay cuts through the richness of the dish, creating a harmonious balance.
  • Sauvignon Blanc: Accompanied by a fresh seafood platter with zesty lime and cilantro dressing. The vibrant acidity of Sauvignon Blanc enhances the flavors of the seafood.

These carefully curated pairings are a testament to the culinary expertise of Martinborough’s chefs and add an extra layer of enjoyment to the festival.

Music and Dance

Toast Martinborough is not only a celebration of wine and food but also a feast for the ears. Live bands and musicians set the rhythm for a day of revelry, offering a diverse range of musical genres, from jazz to pop. The music creates a lively and festive atmosphere, encouraging attendees to dance, relax, and enjoy the moment.

Some of the past musical performers at Toast Martinborough include renowned artists like the Martinborough All Stars Jazz Band and Kiwi pop sensation, The Tasting Notes. Whether you’re a music enthusiast or just looking to groove to some tunes, the festival’s musical offerings cater to a wide spectrum of tastes.

Scenic Beauty

Nestled among the rolling hills of the Wairarapa region, Martinborough offers a picturesque and charming backdrop for Toast Martinborough. The vineyards are surrounded by lush greenery, and the quaint village streets exude a sense of timeless elegance.

Visitors can take leisurely strolls through the vineyards, enjoying panoramic views of the countryside, and explore the charming village with its boutique shops and cafes. The combination of natural beauty and rustic allure makes Toast Martinborough a visual delight, enhancing the overall experience.

Toast Martinborough 2017: A Memorable Start

Toast Martinborough

Toast Martinborough 2017 marked a significant milestone in the history of this celebrated wine festival. This event set a high benchmark for the festival, offering attendees a memorable experience filled with exclusive wine tastings, culinary delights, and interactive workshops. Let’s delve into the highlights of Toast Martinborough 2017, emphasizing the value it provided to festival-goers.

Exclusive Wine Tastings

One of the standout features of Toast Martinborough 2017 was the availability of limited edition wines for tasting. Local vineyards showcased their finest and most exclusive vintages, allowing attendees to sample wines that are not typically found on the shelves. This aspect of the festival catered to wine enthusiasts and connoisseurs who sought a deeper understanding of Martinborough’s winemaking excellence. Here is a table summarizing some of the exclusive wines featured at the festival:

VineyardExclusive WineTasting Notes
Ata RangiPinot Noir 2015Intense red fruit flavors with a silky texture.
Palliser EstateMethode Traditionnelle BrutCrisp and elegant sparkling wine.
Te KairangaChardonnay 2016Rich and buttery with hints of citrus and oak.

These exclusive tastings provided festival-goers with a unique opportunity to explore the nuances and sophistication of Martinborough’s winemaking craft.

Culinary Delights

Another highlight of Toast Martinborough 2017 was the culinary experience it offered. The festival featured a fusion of local and international cuisines, expertly paired with the wines on offer. Attendees had the chance to savor a wide range of dishes, from delectable seafood to gourmet cheeses, all designed to complement the wines. Here are some culinary highlights from the festival:

  • Seafood Extravaganza: Freshly shucked oysters, grilled prawns, and smoked salmon paired with crisp Sauvignon Blancs and Chardonnays.
  • Artisanal Cheese Platter: A selection of local cheeses served with artisanal bread and matched with Pinot Noir and Merlot wines.
  • International Flavors: Food trucks offered international fare such as Thai curries and Mexican tacos, providing diverse tastes to accompany the wines.

The culinary aspect of Toast Martinborough 2017 added a layer of sophistication to the overall experience, making it a gastronomic delight for attendees.

Interactive Workshops

For those looking to deepen their wine knowledge, Toast Martinborough 2017 featured interactive workshops led by experts in the field. These sessions covered various aspects of winemaking and tasting, allowing participants to gain valuable insights into the world of wine. Some of the workshop topics included:

  • Wine Tasting Techniques: An exploration of sensory evaluation and the art of identifying wine characteristics.
  • Winemaking Process: A behind-the-scenes look at the winemaking process, from grape to bottle.
  • Food and Wine Pairing: Guidance on how to pair different wines with food to enhance the tasting experience.

These workshops provided festival-goers with a chance to learn from industry professionals and further their appreciation of wine.

Toast Martinborough 2018: Raising the Bar

Three elderly individuals sitting, one enjoying a glass of wine

Building upon the success of its predecessors, Toast Martinborough 2018 took the festival experience to new heights. This edition went beyond being just a wine tasting event; it transformed into a learning experience with an array of interactive activities. Let’s delve into what made Toast Martinborough 2018 stand out, with a focus on wine and food masterclasses, an expanded music lineup, and sustainability efforts.

Wine and Food Masterclasses

One of the standout features of Toast Martinborough 2018 was the introduction of wine and food masterclasses. Experts in the field shared valuable insights on wine pairing, enhancing attendees’ understanding of how to match wines with various dishes to maximize flavor. Here’s an overview of some of the masterclasses held at the festival:

  • Pinot Noir Pairing: Participants learned the art of pairing Pinot Noir with different foods, from grilled meats to earthy mushrooms. They explored how the wine’s delicate flavors complemented and elevated the dining experience.
  • Sauvignon Blanc Sensations: This workshop focused on the vibrant Sauvignon Blanc and its compatibility with seafood, fresh salads, and citrus-infused dishes. Attendees discovered the magic of crisp acidity and zesty notes.
  • Chocolate and Wine Harmony: A delectable session that explored the pairing of wines with chocolates, demonstrating the synergy between sweet, fruity, and dessert wines with various chocolate types.

These masterclasses not only enriched attendees’ knowledge but also provided practical skills for enhancing their own wine and food pairings.

Expanded Music Line-up

Toast Martinborough 2018 raised the bar in terms of its music offerings. The festival expanded its music lineup to encompass more genres and provide a wider range of musical experiences. Multiple dance floors were set up, ensuring that attendees could groove to their preferred beats throughout the event. Here’s a snapshot of some of the music genres featured:

  • Jazz and Blues: Live jazz bands serenaded attendees with smooth melodies and bluesy rhythms, creating an intimate and relaxed atmosphere.
  • Electronic Dance Music (EDM): Dance enthusiasts had their fill of EDM, with DJs spinning tunes that kept the energy high and the dance floors packed.
  • Indie and Folk: A stage dedicated to indie and folk artists provided a more laid-back setting for those seeking a mellower musical experience.

This diverse music lineup added to the festival’s appeal, catering to a wide range of musical tastes and ensuring that there was something for everyone to enjoy.

Sustainability Efforts

In a world increasingly conscious of environmental concerns, Toast Martinborough 2018 made sustainability a priority. The festival introduced various initiatives to reduce its environmental footprint and promote eco-friendliness. Some sustainability efforts included:

  • Reusable Glassware: Attendees were provided with reusable wine glasses, reducing the need for disposable plastic cups and minimizing waste.
  • Waste Sorting Stations: Clearly marked waste sorting stations were set up throughout the festival grounds to encourage proper disposal and recycling of waste materials.
  • Local and Organic Food: Emphasis was placed on serving locally sourced and organic food options, supporting sustainable farming practices.
  • Carbon Offset Program: The festival implemented a carbon offset program to mitigate its greenhouse gas emissions, further contributing to environmental conservation.

These sustainability initiatives demonstrated Toast Martinborough’s commitment to creating a greener and more responsible festival experience.

Toast Martinborough 2019: A Continuation of Excellence

Band performing in front of an audience

Toast Martinborough 2019 upheld a standard of excellence that cemented its reputation as a premier wine festival. With each vineyard striving to outdo itself in terms of offerings and experiences, this edition of Toast Martinborough continued to delight attendees. Below are the highlights of Toast Martinborough 2019, including award-winning wines, artisanal food stalls, and enhanced guest services, all while keeping accessibility in mind.

Award-Winning Wines

One of the key highlights of Toast Martinborough 2019 was the showcase of award-winning wines. Local vineyards proudly presented wines that had received recognition and accolades from both local and international wine competitions. This offered attendees the opportunity to taste wines that had been celebrated for their exceptional quality and craftsmanship. Here’s a glimpse of some of the award-winning wines featured at the festival:

VineyardAward-Winning WineAccolades
Martinborough VineyardPinot Noir 2017Gold Medal, International Wine Challenge
Dry RiverChardonnay 201694 Points, Wine Spectator. Trophy, New Zealand International Wine Show
EscarpmentPinot Gris 2018Gold Medal, Royal Easter Show Wine Awards

These celebrated wines not only allowed attendees to savor excellence in a glass but also served as a testament to the dedication and expertise of Martinborough’s winemakers.

Artisanal Food Stalls

Another standout feature of Toast Martinborough 2019 was the wide variety of gourmet food options available at artisanal food stalls. Festival-goers had the opportunity to indulge in an array of delectable dishes that complemented the wines. The festival organizers curated a diverse selection of culinary delights to cater to different tastes and preferences.

Some of the gourmet offerings included:

  • Seafood Extravaganza: Freshly shucked oysters, grilled prawns, and seafood paella paired harmoniously with crisp Sauvignon Blancs and Chardonnays.
  • International Flavors: Food stalls offered international cuisines such as Indian, Italian, and Japanese, providing a global culinary experience.
  • Artisanal Cheese and Charcuterie: Attendees could assemble their custom platters with an assortment of fine cheeses, cured meats, and condiments, perfectly matched with a variety of wines.

The artisanal food stalls elevated the overall festival experience, showcasing the versatility of Martinborough’s wines when paired with diverse culinary creations.

Enhanced Guest Services

Toast Martinborough 2019 focused on improving guest services to ensure a smoother and more enjoyable experience for all attendees. The festival organizers implemented various enhancements, making navigation easier and providing more resting spots for visitors to relax and savor the atmosphere. Key enhancements included:

  • Clear Signage: Well-placed signage and maps throughout the festival grounds helped attendees find their way to different vineyards and attractions.
  • Resting Areas: Comfortable seating areas and shaded spots were strategically placed, allowing visitors to take a break and soak in the festival ambiance.
  • Wine Guides: Knowledgeable wine guides were readily available to answer questions, offer recommendations, and enhance the educational aspect of the event.

These improvements demonstrated the festival’s commitment to ensuring that guests had a seamless and enjoyable experience.

Behind the Scenes: Organizing Toast Martinborough

Organizing Toast Martinborough, a renowned wine festival, is no small feat; it’s a year-long endeavor that demands the seamless collaboration of vineyards, local businesses, and the community. The primary objective is to create a harmonious experience that not only showcases the region’s exceptional wine-making prowess but also exemplifies its warm hospitality. Here’s an in-depth look at the multifaceted organizational aspects that come into play to make Toast Martinborough a resounding success.

Vineyard Coordination

The heart of Toast Martinborough beats within the vineyards, where each participant endeavors to offer diverse and exceptional wine experiences. The intricacies of vineyard coordination are crucial to the festival’s organization, and they extend beyond just selecting vineyards. Here’s a closer look:

  • Vineyard Selection: The process of selecting participating vineyards is a meticulous one. Careful consideration is given to represent a wide array of grape varieties and winemaking styles. This diversity ensures that attendees can sample an extensive range of wines, from the famed Pinot Noir to the beloved Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Wine Preparation: Months before the festival, vineyards prepare their wines for the event. This involves selecting specific vintages and, in some cases, crafting exclusive releases solely for the festival. The aim is to provide festival-goers with a unique tasting experience that truly showcases the best of Martinborough’s terroir.
  • Food Pairing Collaboration: Vineyards engage in collaborative efforts with local chefs and food producers. Together, they create food pairings that seamlessly complement the wines on offer. This culinary synergy is an integral part of the festival’s allure.
  • Logistics: To ensure the smooth movement of attendees between vineyards, efficient transportation options are meticulously planned. Shuttle services, buses, and designated routes are put in place to accommodate the flow of guests.

Logistics and Safety

Efficiency and safety are paramount when organizing an event of this scale. Several logistical considerations are taken into account:

  • Transportation: Providing efficient transportation options is essential to ensure that attendees can easily navigate from one vineyard to another. The strategic planning of shuttle services, routes, and schedules is imperative to accommodate the flow of guests throughout the day.
  • Safety Measures: Safety takes precedence. Adequate security personnel, first aid stations, and comprehensive emergency response plans are meticulously organized to address any unforeseen circumstances and ensure the well-being of attendees.
  • Waste Management: Proper waste management and recycling programs are implemented to minimize the environmental impact of the festival. Recycling stations, composting areas, and waste sorting stations are strategically placed to encourage responsible disposal practices.
  • Visitor Flow: The layout of the festival grounds and the arrangement of vineyard locations are thoughtfully designed to avoid congestion and ensure a seamless flow of visitors. The goal is to create an enjoyable and stress-free experience for all.

Marketing and Promotion

Spreading the word about Toast Martinborough is vital to attracting a global audience and making the event a resounding success. Key marketing and promotional aspects encompass:

  • Online Presence: The festival leverages a robust online presence through its website and social media platforms. Engaging with potential attendees, sharing real-time updates, and building anticipation are central to the online strategy.
  • Partnerships: Collaborations with local businesses, tourism organizations, and sponsors play a pivotal role in expanding the festival’s reach and ensuring its financial viability. These partnerships help promote the festival to a broader audience.
  • Ticket Sales: Establishing efficient ticket sales and distribution channels is crucial to managing the influx of attendees. Special offers, early bird discounts, and group packages are often employed to drive ticket sales and create excitement.
  • Event Promotion: A carefully curated promotional campaign is launched to highlight the unique aspects of Toast Martinborough. This includes showcasing the award-winning wines, the picturesque scenery, the delicious food pairings, and the diverse entertainment options.


Toast Martinborough is more than just a festival; it’s a sensory journey that celebrates the best of New Zealand’s wine culture. Whether you attended Toast Martinborough 2017, 2018, or 2019, or are planning to visit in the future, the festival promises a delightful experience, combining the joys of wine, food, and music in a spectacular setting.

Toast Martinborough is not just an event; it’s a tradition, a celebration, and an unforgettable experience. The festival continues to evolve, promising to offer new and exciting experiences each year. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur, a foodie, or someone who enjoys good music and great company, Toast Martinborough is an event that should not be missed.


What is the ticket price for Toast Martinborough?

The ticket price varies each year but offers great value considering the experiences provided.

Are children allowed at Toast Martinborough?

Toast Martinborough is primarily an adult-focused event due to the emphasis on wine.

Can I buy wines at the festival?

Yes, most vineyards offer the option to purchase their wines on-site.

Is there transportation available to the festival?

Yes, there are shuttle services from major cities and within Martinborough.

Are there accommodation options nearby?

Martinborough has several accommodation options ranging from hotels to quaint B&Bs.