The debut of a new food and wine festival in Wanaka over the weekend has British entrepreneur and adventurer Richard Branson to thank for getting it off the ground.
Otago Event Planning owner Wanaka local Nathan White said a few years ago he read a book by Branson which inspired him "to do something he was passionate about".
"My background was an electrician so I had my own one-man band and it did really well, but I had lost any passion for that and had been looking for something to do with local businesses."
He said in Christmas 2019 he had a lightbulb moment and came up with the idea of Ripe, a new food and wine festival designed to "celebrate the Central Otago viticulture industry and local culinary scene".
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Yesterday more than two thousand people attended the first Ripe festival in the grounds of Corbridge Estate.
White said there were 18 wineries, two breweries, one cider maker, two distilleries, one kombucha firm, seven food stalls, one ice cream vendor and Wanakup coffee represented.
He said he also had a wait list of wineries and food vendors who had wanted to come to Ripe but he did not want to "overload" the festival in its first year.
"It has been a great day in the sun, the flow is perfect getting out and about."
He said the first Ripe festival had "exceeded his expectations" but next year it would be bigger and even better.