Tonight’s the night.

Over 600 wine drinkers, thinkers, makers, marketers, writers and retailers descended on Wellington’s waterfront for the first evening of the biggest wine event ever in this city – Pinot Noir NZ 2017.

It is the sixth Pinot Noir conference to be held in the capital. It has attracted record numbers but is also the longest break between drinks for Pinot Noir devotees. All previous five Pinot Noir conferences in the capital were held every three years, but this one had a four year hiatus. This was due to the country’s first ever Sauvignon Blanc celebration in Marlborough last year. Organisers of both events felt that they did not wish to host competing international wine conferences, so agreed to a four yearly Pinot Noir event, going forward.

Actor and winery owner Sam Neill is among the 600 plus conference goers, as is the world’s most highly respected wine writer, Jancis Robinson; a Master of Wine and editor of The Oxford Companion to Wine, the latest edition of which was published in late 2016 and co-edited by Julia Harding, also a Master of Wine.

Winemaker Ben Glover is the chairperson of Pinot Noir 2017 and will open the conference on Tuesday 31 January at 8.30am. There will be 115 New Zealand Pinot Noir producers attending while other tastings will highlight benchmark styles of Pinot Noir from other countries.

Watch this space.