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Waikawa Boating Club

Annual Wine Race cancelled for 2020

Issue date

The 2020 Wineworks Wine Race across the Cook Strait has been cancelled due to a number of factors.

Those issues include the fact Chaffers are not able to accommodate the fleet and Seaview are subject to a changing works schedule brought about by Covid 19’s impact on the contractors who are also responsible for the America’s Cup facilities.

The race was due to start at the entrance to Tory Channel in the Marlborough Sounds and finish in Wellington harbour. Each boat was due to carry a bottle of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, which was then available for the public to taste at a unique event hosted by Wine Marlborough following the race.

Originally scheduled for November 13, the race was rescheduled to February 19 following notification that Seaview would be unavailable due to works being carried out.

Organisers have been advised over the last few days that the original date is now available as the works have been pushed back to early 2021, impacting on the rescheduled date. The amount of work required to make the event happen at the desired standard for the wineries, sponsors and crews involved is simply not possible in the six weeks available.

“It’s unfortunate that the Wine Race has needed to be cancelled this year but in a year that has presented plenty of challenges it is not the end of the world," Wineworks spokesman Damien Gillman said on behalf of the major sponsors. "It’ll be back next year better than ever I’m sure and we’ll all look forward to the fun and excitement that comes with taking our wonderful Marlborough wines across to the capital.”

The Waikawa Boating Club team are disappointed the decision has had to be made but believe it is in the best long-term interests of the event and all those associated with it.

“Like our sponsor Wineworks, we aim to bring quality and certainty to the occasion,” rear commodore David Grigg said. “Delivering a below-par event is not something we wish to engage in.

"We’re disappointed the 2020 event will not proceed but look forward to ensuring the 2021 event delivers all the outcomes people have come to expect from it.”