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Christchurch/Southern New Zealand has been selected as the New Zealand representative on the prestigious Great Wine Capitals Global Network.
The Great Wine Capitals network, which includes as members wine regions such as Bordeaux, France and San Francisco/Napa Valley, USA, is an international network of major wine producing regions which aims to promote tourism, education and business exchange.
The Christchurch City Council-led bid to join the international network incorporates the wine growing regions of Canterbury, Waipara Valley, Marlborough and Central Otago. As the largest wine-growing region in the South Island, Marlborough took a key role in the bid.
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker says the selection is a great opportunity to attract tourism to the region and develop international markets for our world-class wines.
"I am delighted that our bid to join the Great Wine Capitals Global Network has been successful. This is a great example of South Island regional partners working together to achieve top results.
"The wine regions of Christchurch/Southern New Zealand are already world-renowned; securing membership of this prestigious global network will help us build on our good reputation, promote our sustainability credentials and attract even more interest in our region," he says.
"Christchurch is the international gateway to the superb wine growing regions of Canterbury, Waipara Valley, Marlborough and Central Otago. All of these destinations are within just a few hours of the city and promoting the South Island wine region as one entity means we can attract more international visitors than we could do individually," Mr Parker says. "I hope this is just the first of many more combined Southern tourism ventures."
Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman says: "With more wineries than any other region of New Zealand, and as the source of about three quarters of this country's export wine, Marlborough is already recognised amongst the elite wine regions of the world but there is much to be gained from working in tandem with our southern neighbours to raise the profile of the South Island as a destination for wine lovers. So we are pleased to see Wine Marlborough working cooperatively to develop this partnership in the interests of the wider industry in the south."
Central Otago Mayor Malcolm MacPherson says the opportunity to join the Great Wine Capitals network is a coup for the South Island. "It puts us on an international tourism map and cements our reputation as a wine region that matters. Central Otago adds a unique 'edge of the world' difference that we know wine lovers find irresistible. Award-wining pinot noir, Lord of the Rings landscapes, great food and unbeatable hospitality set us apart, and the Great Wine Capitals recognition provides additional lustre," Mr MacPherson says.
Kaikoura Mayor Kevin Heays says: "I am very impressed with the delegation's honesty and integrity - I do believe they have chosen the South Island as their next partner because of the same attributes that we displayed to them through our hospitality, our wines and our 'place'. This is a fine example of the recognition that the South Island gets, and deserves, when considering the possibilities we have to offer."
Hurunui Mayor Garry Jackson says: "We are truly excited about our inclusion as one of the prestigious Great Wine Capitals Global Network. Waipara Valley and our other local wine growers represent New Zealand's fastest growing wine area producing distinctive high quality labels. This recognition will take us to new heights!"
The Christchurch/Southern New Zealand region will co-ordinate over the next month before officially accepting the invitation and becoming a Great Wine Capital at the network's Annual General Meeting in November.
Great Wine Capitals has eight members (Bordeaux, Cape Town, Florence, Mainz, Mendoza, Porto, Bilbao-Rioja and San Francisco-Napa Valley) and has been looking to include a New Zealand member and an Australian member - only one wine region from each country can become a member of the global network.
The New Zealand wine industry contributes over $1.5 billion to New Zealand's GDP and supports over 16,500 full time equivalent jobs. The industry generates over $3.5 billion of revenue through its own direct sales and the sales it induces from related sectors. The Christchurch/Southern New Zealand wine region includes 295 wineries, this makes up 46% of the wineries in New Zealand. The combined region represents approximately 65% of New Zealand's total vineyard area and 75% of exports.
* Wine Marlborough, Chairman Blair Gibbs 021 392 810, Marketing Manager Marcus Pickens 021 831 820
* Wines of Canterbury, Nigel Kingshott 021 980 471
* Waipara Valley Winegrowers Inc
* Central Otago Pinot Noir Ltd
Great Wine Capitals Global Network