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RIPE Festival – a showcase of food & wine in Wanaka

Central Otago and the Southern Lakes are renowned as premier New Zealand wine destinations and the launch of Ripe – The Wanaka Wine & Food Festival, on March 21 2021, is planned as a celebration of both wine and food in the region.

Ripe festival director Nathan White came up with the concept of an all new festival, blending regional food, wine, live music and celebrity entertainment, after returning to the Southern Lakes from Australia and discovering no such event existed in Queenstown or Wanaka.

“I believed an upscale wine and food festival should be hosted in one of the most beautiful and vibrant epicurean corners of the country.Central Otago needs a showcase event like this to match the other famous wine regions in the country. Ripe has great potential to be one of New Zealand’s most popular wine events as it has all the right ingredients including world-class wine, amazing restaurants and food producers, along with a naturally stunning location.”

Some of Central Otago and the Southern Lakes best-known wineries such as Akarua, Amisfield, Maude and Maori Point will participateat the inaugural event, as well as local food producers including The Stoaker Room, Hook Wanaka and many more.

Nathan says guests will be able to sample the food and wine while enjoying live music from Kiwi pop-rock favourites The Jordan Luck Band and viewing a cooking demonstration by Arrowtown based celebrity chef Nadia Lim.

Ripe is being held on the outskirts of Wanaka at the Corbridge Woolshed, a rustic-style venue with views out towards Mt Maude and the Clutha River. Plenty of parking will be available and pre-booked bus transport for ticket holders from Wanaka, Cromwell, Alexandra and Queenstown will also be provided.

Nathan says he is expecting a sell-out crowd of wine aficionados for the anticipated autumn event, with something to suit every palate.

“Some of my personal favourites are Maori Point wines, from a vineyard located near Tarras. The wine is amazing –not just the Pinot Noir but the whole range makes it on to my highly-recommended list. I am also really looking forward to hosting The Stoaker Room which uses old wine barrels from Wild Earth Wines to steam or smoke the food in. We also have revered wine connoisseur and New Zealand’s only master sommelier Cameron Douglas presenting a wine tasting session that is guaranteed to be lots of fun. It’s going to be a fantastic day out.”

Kiwi tunes and tucker

Celebrity entertainment is a key feature of the initial 2021 Ripe festival and legendary performer Jordan Luck will take to the stage with The Jordan Luck Band playing chart-topping tracks as well as classic anthems from The Exponents.

My Food Bag chef Nadia Lim will also be a significant attraction sharing her cuisine secrets  in a special live cooking presentation during the event.

Festival director Nathan White says it is important to secure entertainment for Ripe that will appeal to New Zealanders and Jordan Luck and Nadia Lim are the ideal choice.

“Most Kiwis have either seen The Exponents or The Jordan Luck Band live or sung along to them at the local pub on a Saturday night. The music is so well known in New Zealand and it appeals to almost all ages. Nadia Lim is a household name and she shows us how to cook amazing variations of meals with ingredients we already have in our pantries. The fact that she is now an Arrowtown local is even more reason to welcome her on board.”