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Wine not: Winemakers and organisers of Good Bunch Film Festival Zoe Kane and Ben Leen

By CASS MARRETT

A group  of winemakers and growers is giving Queenstowners an exclusive peek behind their cellar doors.
Tomorrow in Arrowtown, the Good Bunch Film Festival debuts, followed by events in Bannockburn and Wānaka on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

Five vineyards from Central Otago have each produced a short film which, as people watch, they’ll be treated with a wine from that very vineyard.

‘‘When you’re watching something on film and then you’re drinking something from those people, that hopefully will form a pretty strong connection,’’ organiser and winemaker Ben Leen says.
Inspired by the Mountain Film Festival, which runs every year in Wānaka and Queenstown during winter, Leen and fellow winemaker Zoe Kane wanted to create something to connect the wine community with the greater community.

‘‘[It’s] a great way for everyone really to show a different side instead of just like swirling wine glasses and hearing about tasting nights,’’ Leen says.

‘‘For us it was really making the wine community a bit more accessible.’’

Filling glasses and satiating cinematic appetites on the night will be Alpine Wine Co, Dicey Wines, Felton Road, Rippon, and Debra Cruickshank Wines.

Leen says there was no ‘‘direction’’ about content from organisers, they just wanted each vineyard to share their story.

One vineyard made a film about biodynamic farming and another about regenerative native planting — proving there’s a lot more to wine appreciation than what you can get from a glass.

It’s all ‘‘self-funded’’, Leen says, with a little help from New Zealand Winegrowers, and any profit will either be funnelled into production costs or donated to a charity.

Like many others, the event’s been snafued by Covid, originally set to go ahead in August.

‘‘It was sort of tricky running events obviously in this time that we’re in but we just wanted to go ahead and get it done,’’ Leen says.

‘‘Before it gets hectic leading up to Christmas, it’s kind of a cool time for people to venture out and go to an event and hopefully get inspired by some of these wine producers.’’

He hopes the event will take root and travel further than Central Otago.

‘‘What we’d hope to do is that it sort of creates an annual model where we could get other wine producers on board [and] it could be something that could be rolled out across the different wine-growing regions or nationally.’’

Good Bunch Film Festival, Arrowtown Athenaeum Hall, tomorrow, 7.30pm. Tickets $35 (+ booking fee) from https://bit.ly/309VzvJ

cass.marrett@scene.co.nz