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Ripe & ready


A day of indulging in the spoils of one of the world’s finest wine and food producing regions is on the agenda for those heading to Ripe next month. The Wānaka Wine and Food Festival is a celebration of the best of Central Otago’s rich culture and cuisine.

 

 

More than 30 vendors are already lined up to showcase the region’s best, set against the picturesque alpine lake landscape at Corbridge Woolshed, a stunning 325-hectare rolling field backdrop on March 21.

Guests can imbibe the crispest sauvignon blancs, earthiest pinot noirs – and every varietal in between from the region’s most celebrated vineyards, with the most sought-after food matchings on-site, too.

Aside from the gastronomy on display, the Jordan Luck Band will entertain crowds with a mix of classic and contemporary favourites; world-leading wine writer, commentator, judge and reviewer, New Zealand’s only Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas will host a wine education seminar, and Kiwi chef, dietician, writer, columnist and business owner, Nadia Lim, will give a live cooking demonstration.

Wānaka local and Otago Event Planning owner Nathan White says an event that celebrates the taste of Central Otago has long been wanted for the area.

“Ripe is about the passion and energy for the best wine and food of our region and our country – backed by a deep respect, appreciation and knowledge for the industry.

“Our producers have a deep connection to the land and a passion for the product, and we want to celebrate this while bringing a much-needed boost to the local economy,” he says.

Wine makers and chefs from around the region will be available to talk to and purchase wine from, and people will be able to taste the produce.

Maude, Amisfield, Māori Point, Ceres, Misha’s Vineyard, Akarua and Cloudy Bay are among many of the Central Otago wineries who will be present at the festival, supported by food from the likes of The Stoaker Room, Hawker & Roll, and Hook, plus some local breweries and distilleries ensuring there is something for everyone.

Sunday March 21, 11am to 6pm. Purchase tickets at www.eventfinda.co.nz or via the website below.


 

Fun on the Peninsula


Summer is undoubtedly dubbed festival season, because what better excuse is there to indulge in great food, tasty tipples, and toe-tapping tunes than warm weather. And the family friendly Banks Peninsula Festival on February 20 is serving up all those crucial ingredients.

 

 

The event at Orton Bradley Park is about showcasing all things local.

The line-up is spread across two stages and features talented music artists The Butlers, Kimono, Delaney Davidson, Deep Water Creek, Pieces of Molly, Volts; MEDaL, Candice Milner and Violet French & The Horrible.

If you’re more of a foodie, there’s something for you, too. The Banks Peninsula Mystery Box Cook-off puts hotshot culinary experts Giulio Sturla (Mapu Lyttelton), Jamie Robert Johnston (Everybody Eats) and Bob Fairs (Alfred) to the test in a challenge that involves, you guessed it, a mystery box of ingredients.

But there’s one thing that isn’t a mystery – the box’s contents are foraged from Banks Peninsula.

Food and beverage trucks include (brace yourself); Greystone Wines, Cassels Brewing Co., Peninsula Gin, Twenty Seven Steps’ Frosé, The Vagabond Chef, Kathmandu MO House, Pita Pit, Indo Tempeh, Fritz’s Wieners, Kimbrella’s Candy, Cakes by Anna, Crepe’s Creation, Berry Healthy Icecream, Lyttelton Coffee Company, Harbour House, Lucky Pig, Richard Till, Sherha Kai, Hummusina, El Quincho, Bomba, Akaroa Salmon, Mauriroa Kombucha, Little Hungary… and more to be announced.
What a mouthful! Get your tickets at www.ticketfairy.com.


 

Summer in North Canterbury


In a summer where every trip out of the house feels like a special treat, make the most of our freedoms with a trip to North Canterbury. The scenic region is undoubtedly at its best in high summer, and just a short drive away from central Christchurch, how could you not stop in?

 

 

WINE
It would be negligent to start this article with anything other than a nod to this globally renowned Waipara wine region. Here, you’ll find 200km of prime viticulture territory – all set against the stunning backdrop of the Southern Alps. Stop at any number of wineries to enjoy a glass of the good stuff.

…AND DINE
And while you’re there, you may as well tuck into the boutique gourmet cuisine offerings, too. Not only is North Canterbury home to beautiful wine-making, it is also teeming with artisan foodie delights. From Rangiora’s cafes and riverside bars to the winery restaurants – the eateries await any occasion.

COASTAL CRUISING
Summer is not complete without checking out a new, or favourite, beach spot. And the North Canterbury coast has plenty to choose from. Admire the marine wildlife from Kaikoura, or visit Gore Bay or Motunau Beach, where you can admire the coastal cliffs while swimming in your pick of a dip in the sea or river.

RELAX AND WIND DOWN
Take a moment to soak it all in, while soaking in the hot pools at Hanmer. This is a favoured spot for Cantabs for a reason: Close enough to head for a night or two, but far enough to feel like an escape. Hanmer has a crowd-pleasing balance of relaxing activities, as well as nature walks, mountain biking and adventure activities.

FEELING FESTY
The North Canterbury Wine and Food Festival on March 7 is a highlight on summer events calendars. A day of feasting, dancing and of course tasting spectacular wines, the festival is set under the oaks at Glenmark Domain with tickets starting at just $29. Soak in the atmosphere while sipping on some award-winning wines.


 

Summer in a can: Melton Estate


The magic of a New Zealand summer has been canned thanks to local winery Melton Estate. Because this year, its latest harvest of Summer Love Sparkling Riesling can also be found in handy 330ml cans.

 

 

In a year where summer tastes even better, this popular light pink spritzy drop has light floral notes of honey suckle, lychee, strawberries, red fruits and cherry blossom.

Also available by the bottle, the tipple is the perfect summer pairing – ideal for beach days, long lunches and evening barbecues, camping trips and music festivals.

Melton Estate Owner Tracy Caunter says the cans have been made with a biodegradable can ring in keeping with its commitment to responsible business practices as recognised by its Qualmark 4 Star Plus rating and Silver Sustainable Tourism Award.

Summer Love Sparkling Riesling can be purchased in selected stores in 330ml cans or 375ml and 750ml bottles.

But Tracy warmly invites and encourages wine lovers to venture out to the winery and restaurant on Weedons Ross Road, West Melton.


 

A beautiful aperitif: Ataahua Wine


Ataahua means beautiful, and boutique Ataahua Wines is synonymous with North Canterbury history.

“A glass of rosé is elegant, moreish and sophisticated. It goes with race day,” says winemaker and owner Stephanie Henderson-Grant. Her handcrafted wines grace select local wine lists.

“Our rosé makes a fresh, pretty aperitif. With hints of cherry and strawberry, it’s crisp and off dry. I love it with smoked salmon blini, prawns, or soft cheese and crackers. The subtle flavours pair so well.”

Six exclusive varietals create Ataahua’s stable of boutique beauties, including oaked chardonnay, riesling, sauvignon blanc, pinot noir and merlot. The Gewürztraminer has aromatics of ginger and lychee that marry well with Asian-influenced flavours.

And a boxed rosé 2019 with two Italian crystal glasses, etched with Ataahua’s signature, is a gift that won’t be forgotten.

Order online for a prompt, contactless courier delivery.


 

Grape Expectations: Melton Estate


Nestled comfortably on a 12-acre block on Weedons Ross Road, West Melton, Melton Estate is, at its heart, a modern restaurant and event venue, but it’s the boutique winery which is meeting the grape expectations of a loyal and growing patronage.

 

PHOTO KORU PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Owner and wine afficionado Philip Caunter says that while the popular winery – surrounded by lush pinot noir vines – supplies Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay, Méthode Traditionnelle, Sauvignon Blanc and the increasingly popular Rosé, it is the Sparkling Riesling known as ‘Summer Love’ which has earned widespread acclaim.

“We’ve been making Summer Love for 11 years now,” Philip says.

“Every year it’s extremely popular across a broad range of people. Its popularity has really surpassed expectations.”

To describe this tasty tipple as a Sparkling Riesling with a bit of pinot added to the mix may over-simplify the time, talent and labour-intensive process of vinification, but equally, it can be described as fun in a bottle.

“Summer Love is about fun, celebrating, coming together,” Philip says.

“It’s just slightly sparkling, or what the Italians call frizzante; it resonates with people who want something that’s a little bit fun.”

When it comes to celebrating, their French-style champagne Méthode Traditionnelle, is another top drop.

At this time of year, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are on the online order for many Melton Estate customers, while in summer the fruity Rosé comes out of hibernation.

“We’ve had a great year in the vineyard and look forward to releasing more new wines,” Philip says.

“We enjoy the fact that people enjoy it; everything else flows on from that.”


 

A place to celebrate! – Rossendale Vineyard


Planning a wedding or family celebration is stressful at the best of times but in recent weeks, planning has become near impossible.

 

 

Enter Rossendale Vineyard! With more than 20 years’ experience, this beautiful and unique venue offers the ultimate setting for any celebration, big or small.

With in-house catering, experienced and friendly professional staff and beautiful gardens as a backdrop for ceremonies and photography, Rossendale is available year-round with each season offering its own opportunities.

A wealth of information is available on their website with an amazing 360 degree visual tour and drone-shot video that shows just how beautiful the setting and venue is.

For an on-site visit please call venue managers, Graham or Liz to arrange a day and time for them to show you around and discuss your plans.


 

Why Waipara Springs Winery?


The Waipara wine region, an hour north of Christchurch, boasts 75 vineyards and stretches over more than 1,200 hectares of plantings. It is renowned for the amazing pinot noirs and rieslings that are produced there. But every great region has an equally great origin story; a pioneer in the trade and for this particular district… it was the Waipara Springs Winery.

 

 

Established in 1981, the Moore family pioneered the planting of the first vines in the valley.

Having bottled their first vintage in 1989 and officially opening the restaurant in 1990, the proud original North Canterbury family will be celebrating their 30th anniversary in October this year.

The family owned and operated business is in its third generation.

But that doesn’t stop first owner Jill Moore from sitting down behind the Cellar Door telling a collection of her most cherished stories while running you through the wines.

Whether it’s about the original building being a horse stable or the unique climate of the Waipara Valley – there’s never a dull moment.

The Waipara Springs Winery is already locally recognised and loved, so why not go out and have a look at what everyone is raving about.

Current owners, Katie Lumber and Andrew Moore, expressed that “We are about offering a memorable experience,”. Their motto is “wine dine relax” and they certainly have plenty to offer; casual dining, group lunch bookings, hens’ parties, corporate functions, weddings and (you guessed it) wine tastings.

This hidden gem is only a short drive from Christchurch… so what are you waiting for?


 

Stellar Vintage


The anticipation is building at Cross Hares Wines; the 2020 grape harvest is about to begin.

“This looks like being a stellar vintage,” owner Natalie Edwards says.

“The quality and quantity of the fruit on the vines is superb. The weather over the ripening period has been settled and we haven’t had any major rain events, hail damage or disease. Our very own pest controller — our 12-year old daughter Tessa — has been hard at work under the nets, removing every single animal or avian pest. The pheasants, sparrows, rabbits and hares don’t stand a chance with her on the hunt!”

From their one-and-a-half hectares, Natalie and Warrick Edwards hope to pick five tonnes of pinot noir grapes and 10 tonnes of pinot gris.

“With 15 to 20 pickers, the harvest will take a couple of days,” Natalie says.

“It’s all handpicked to maintain the quality. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing the sound of a bunch of grapes hitting the bottom of a plastic bucket.”

Quality fruit means quality wine to come.

“We have just cellared the 2018 pinot noir. The fruit last year was top quality too, so we can’t wait to hear our customers’ reactions to the wine when it is released in June.”

Cross Hares has already made a mark with its wine at the NZ Wine Awards with bronze awards for their 2016 pinot gris and 2017 pinot noir.

“A good start,” Natalie laughs. “But now I’m spurred on to do even better – nothing less than silver or gold.”

For more information email sales@crosshares.nz.


 

Divine Vines


Only 15 minutes from Christchurch Airport, the beautiful Melton Estate is a family-owned boutique winery, restaurant and event venue. Set amidst 12 acres of vines, visitors can relax on the expansive deck and take in the beautiful surroundings the of lawns, gardens and the lush pinot noir vines surrounding the restaurant.

 

 

The winery restaurant has multiple indoor/outdoor options and, with full conference facilities available, it’s the perfect venue for weddings, family celebrations, Christmas parties, corporate events, live shows, wine events and so much more.

All Melton Estate wines are available at cellar door prices and you put a smile on the face of the family member or friend who is impossible to buy for but appreciates a really good New Zealand wine, with a gift voucher from one of Canterbury’s most favourite wineries.

Find Melton Estate at Weedons Ross Road, West Melton, phone 03 347 4968 or email info@meltonestate.co.nz.