Friday, 16 February 2018 14:37

A bright future — Editorial

Written by  Tessa Nicholson
Tessa Nicholson. Tessa Nicholson.

Christmas and the ensuing holiday season may seem like a long time ago, as we race into February, but for many overseas visitors, the holiday is just beginning.

Yes the cellar doors were full over December and January, thanks in part to some stunning weather and high temperatures. But the lure of our wine, doesn’t end when the statutory holidays finish. We know that overseas visitors, whether they be travelling under their own steam, or visiting in droves via cruise ships, inundate our shores throughout the year, especially between now and April. 

Of the 3.2 million international visitors to arrive in New Zealand last year, 22 percent of them or 710,000 individuals, visited a cellar door. Let’s put that in perspective. Imagine if you will, that nearly every single person living in Wellington, Hamilton, Dunedin and Palmerston North* were to visit a cellar door during the year? Get the picture? It’s a lot of people. And that is just international tourists, it doesn’t include the number of New Zealanders who are also visiting.  

That is the good news today – but the future is even brighter, according to the Deloitte/ANZ wine industry benchmarking report, released in December. The report highlights the opportunities available to the New Zealand wine industry moving forward, and not just in terms of exports. The tourism aspect is a “Ripening Opportunity” the report states, especially given tourist numbers are set to increase dramatically in the future. According to MBIE, the number of international tourists visiting New Zealand will grow to 4.9 million by 2023, and consequently we can expect cellar door visitor numbers to increase as well.

The benchmarking report, which has taken the views of 45 wineries (the largest ever pool) to create a picture of the New Zealand wine industry, highlights how important it is for the industry to take advantage of these visitors, (in the nicest possible way). It also points out how the make-up of nationalities is likely to change as we move into the 2020’s. 

“China is forecast to become New Zealand’s most important market (by tourist spend) within the next four years and total spending to reach $4.3 billion by 2023 – easily surpassing Australia,” the report states.

Which may mean the current mode of cellar door needs a re think to ensure it caters for those specific holiday makers. 

The benchmarking report highlighting the importance of wine tourism follows hard on the heels of New Zealand Winegrowers and Tourism New Zealand uniting to create a set of interactive, online learning tools to help the wine industry grow the value of their tourism business. The set of six interactive online learning modules, including topics such as leveraging digital marketing, improving service quality and harnessing the Chinese visitor market, can be used on desktop or mobile making it easy for industry to access.

Currently in New Zealand wine regions there are a number of wine tourism experiences.

Northland has 25, Auckland 90, Waikato/Bay of Plenty 16, Gisborne 14, Hawke’s Bay 63

Wairarapa 51, Nelson: 32, Marlborough 68, Canterbury 38 and Central Otago 65.

With the help of NZ Winegrowers and Tourism New Zealand those numbers should increase providing, as mentioned earlier, a “Ripening Opportunity”.

For more information on the interactive learning modules, visit the member’s page.

*According to World Population data, with Wellington having a population of 381,000, Hamilton 152,000, Dunedin 114,000 and Palmerston North 75,000.

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