One winery is seeking inspiration from the person who is landscaped Hobbiton, at least three are opening new or refurbished savor rooms and another is renovating a eatery. Its all part of a plan to entice visitors to New Zealands premier wine region.
Vignerons in the Marlborough region are on a building spree, adding infrastructure to help them leveraging off record tourist arrivals. The purpose is to turn winery guests into life-long advocates of Kiwi vino. Almost 612,000 foreigners visited New Zealand vineyards in the year through June, 11 percent more than a year earlier, and government figures show that wine buffs typically stay in the country longer and expend more.
Whats being offered by the vineyards has get slickerthe whole experience has get better, said Philip Green, proprietor of Appellation Central Wine Tours in Queenstown, a city famous for its adventure athletics thats also a gateway to the nations southernmost wineries. There has been an increasing awareness of New Zealand as a wine and food destination.
While the focus will help wine exportations reach a NZ$ 2 billion ($ 1.5 billion) target by 2020 from NZ $1.57 billion in the year ended June, it may also be another fillip for tourism, which overtake dairy last year as New Zealands biggest export industry.
New Zealand wine is among the most expensive in many overseas marketplaces in terms of median cost per bottle, which suggests those who drink it can also afford to be potential visitors, told Chris Yorke, global marketing director of New Zealand Winegrowers. The industry body announced last week that its compiling a database of wineries catering to tourists, supported by funding from Auckland International Airport Ltd.
Marlborough has 141 wineries, of which at least 35 have wine-tasting rooms, known locally as cellar doorways, that allow a user to sample and buy their produce.
We are seeing a new generation of guests who are looking for a differentiated and unique winery experience, told Mario Dussurget, hospitality administrator at Cloudy Bay, the winery that was bought in 2003 by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, the worlds biggest luxury-goods manufacturer. They have been to Bordeaux, maybe Napa, the Barossa Valley, and they want something unique from Cloudy Bay and New Zealand.
The 31 -year-old winery, whose Sauvignon Blanc is one of New Zealands most iconic wines, offers tastings alongside plates of local cheese and oysters, plus lodge-style accommodation. People come here having tried the wine abroad and want to see where it is built, Dussurget said in an e-mail.
Less than a couple miles out, Jackson Estate has hired Brian Massey, who was greensmaster for the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy and helped to design the Hobbiton set that is now a tourist destination in its own right. Hes advising on landscaping around the winery and cellar doorway its buildingthe eighth new venue to open for Marlborough visitors in two years.