Wānaka wine festival goes virtual

by Kim Bowden - Feb 21, 2022

Organisers of the Wānaka Wine and Food Festival haven’t let Omicron spoil all the tasty fun – they’re set to celebrate some of Central’s best drops with a virtual festival this year.

The festival, which attracts more than 2000 punters, was scheduled for March, but Covid red light restrictions forced organisers to rethink.

Now, wines from seven Central Otago wineries will be offered up to participants to sample in the comfort of their own homes.

Each winery will present two wines each over the afternoon event, and they’ll be joined by sommelier Candice Chow, from Raymond Chan Wine Reviews, who’ll assist in showcasing each of the wines on offer.

Seven Central Otago wineries, including Maude, will connect virtually with customers after Covid red light restrictions force a rethink of the Wānaka Food and Wine Festival.

Ripe director Nathan White says he wants to see “mini” festivals hosted in living rooms around the country by Central Otago wine lovers.

“We’re hoping everyone’s still got the original festival date in their diary and will embrace the idea of going virtual by hosting their very own watch party with friends.

“It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, sharing great Central Otago wine together.”

There’ll be deals and giveaways throughout the event, he says.

“If you can’t come to Ripe, we’ll bring Ripe to you.”

Access to the event is available to anyone who purchases any of the wines being presented online before March 14.

Once purchased, guests will receive a unique code to access the virtual event.

The event will take place on Saturday, March 19, between 2pm and 4.30pm, the same day the live event was set to take place.

The initiative is the first of many virtual tastings planned for 2022 as part of the Ripe Wine Co offering.

Ripe Wine Co is the festival’s "sister" brand, offering wines from a large range of the Ripe exhibitors, and is New Zealand’s only dedicated supplier of only Central Otago wines.

Vineyards on the tasting line-up include Akarua, Gibbston Valley, Mount Michael, Maori Point, Maude, Misha’s Vineyard and Quartz Reef Wines.

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