The great folks at Stuff have dubbed Marlborough as the ultimate wine holiday destination and we couldn’t agree more!
Napa Valley, Bordeaux, Marlborough.
Marlborough is already known to produce fine wine, but the region is primed to be one of the world’s premier wine holiday destinations.
New Zealand Winegrowers, the country’s organisation for the grape and wine sector, wants to sell Marlborough as the place for an ultimate wine holiday, similar to the already established regions in the world such as the United States and France.
NZ Winegrowers wine tourism executive Jamie Bisiar believed the region was already in a great position to attract more wine tourists.
“The infrastructure is there, the accommodation is there, people are interested.”
Marlborough already had more than 30 cellar doors, with additional restaurants and accommodation for wine tourists and it was just a matter of raising the level even more, she said.
“I think that it’s a really cool community where everyone knows each other and I think that there’s a good opportunity for businesses to be helping businesses and just kind of raise the whole ship.
“Approximately 80 per cent of our wine exports come from Marlborough so it’s well known around the world. A lot of our exports go to the US and Canada and the UK which are huge markets for tourism so the people who are coming know about Marlborough wine.”
Tourism New Zealand figures showed 24 per cent of visitors to the country visited a winery and NZ Winegrowers estimated about 300 wineries in the country had a visitor offering.
Wine tourists also brought more money to the country compared to other tourists, Tourism New Zealand found.
“What we’re seeing currently is that the wine tourist is a higher value tourist so through the data we’ve looked at with Tourism New Zealand, we’ve determined that they spend more, stay longer and visit more regions than the average tourist.
“So we know that we’re dealing with a more premium customer,” Bisiar said.
Development was needed in selling the unique products as one in order to market it better, she said.
“I think a lot of that growth potential lies in developing wine tourism products that the travel trade can be selling.
“I think a lot of the wineries currently do tastings and have really unique offerings but we think there’s a lot of potential to be packaging that into a product and that way we can be participating in the travel trade.”
NZ Winegrowers had already had discussions with tourism and trade experts in order to try and make it a reality.
“Tourism New Zealand has been great help and we’ve had discussions with their trade team on how we can be working together.
“We’re looking to partner with others in the industry who have a bit of experience and could potentially help our wineries develop products,” Bisiar said.
The organisation was already looking at top wine spots around the world to improve visitor experience.
“Another region that’s doing a good job is the Napa Valley in southern California, because wine tourism is huge to their economy there, so when we look at wine tourism regions across the world we’re able to see some standouts that are doing a great job.
“I think we can definitely look to other wine regions that are really doing a good job in attracting visitors and working together as communities to be a wine tourism destination,” Bisiar said.
Growing New Zealand as a wine destination would have lasting repercussions, she said.
“If someone visits a winery and has a great experience and gets to really connect with the product they are going to go back to their home and remember it fondly and buy it three years down the road.”
– The Marlborough Express