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The hunt is on for the best wine tourism ventures in the South Island.
Christchurch | South Island, a member of the prestigious Great Wine Capitals Global Network, is calling for nominations for the 3rd annual Best of Wine Tourism Awards which honour outstanding wineries and other tourism related businesses in the network’s cities and wine regions.
This year a new category – for Architecture and Landscapes – has been added to the existing four categories to recognise the unique landmarks that wineries and vineyards create in the region. The other entry categories are: Wine Tourism Restaurants, Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences, Wine Tourism Services and Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices.
Each Category Award Winner of the Christchurch | South Island awards is presented to the international judging jury for consideration for an international award, this year being held in Florence, Italy at the Great Wine Capital Global Network’s AGM in early November.
Last year’s international winner for Wine Tourism Services, Appellation Central Wine Tours from Central Otago, says winning at both national and international level in consecutive years has given their business a huge boost in an area of the wine industry that doesn't traditionally have any system for recognising excellence.
“The Best of Wine Tourism awards gave us an opportunity to reflect on our business and what we have achieved, while re-emphasising to us the importance of working closely with everyone in the industry and continually working to promote the entire region for its wines and as a destination,” says Wendy Johnston of Appellation Central Wine Tours.
“The fact that it is an international award gives even more credibility to what is achieved. Winning has also been fantastic for our staff who feel proud of who they work for, the success the business has achieved and their contribution to that success."
Other winners in previous years have included Yealands Estate Wines, Blenheim, Melton Estate, Christchurch, The Old Glenmark Vicarage, Waipara, Allan Scott Family Winemakers, Blenheim, and Northburn Station, Cromwell.
With so many of the South Island's great wineries offering a first-class visitor experience Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism industry partnership manager, Caroline Blanchfield is keen to ensure they receive recognition.
“Wine tourism is a great way to learn about the people, culture, heritage, and customs of an area.
“We have some excellent wineries and wine tourism businesses in the regions and our visitors really love the whole experience – tasting wine at the place where it’s made and meeting the people who produce it.
“I strongly encourage the owners and managers of wineries and wine tourism ventures to put their names forward for these Awards so they can get the accolades they so richly deserve,” Ms Blanchfield says.
The Great Wine Capitals Global Network is an international network of major wine producing regions which aims to promote tourism, education and business exchange.
Christchurch | South Island is a central hub uniting the five South Island wine regions of Marlborough, Nelson/Tasman, Waipara Valley, Canterbury and Central Otago. These regions account for approximately 65% of New Zealand's total vineyard area and 75% of exports. They were selected to join the Network three years ago following a Christchurch City Council-led bid for inclusion.
Other members of the prestigious Network include Bordeaux, Cape Town, Florence, Mainz, Mendoza, Porto, Bilbao-Rioja and San Francisco-Napa Valley. Only one wine region from each country can become a member of the global network.
Entries for the 2013 awards close 3 September, 2012 and application forms are available online at www.southislandwine.co.nz.
After initial judging, short-listed businesses are visited for on-site assessment before the winner in each category is chosen.
The winners receive a Best of Wine Tourism trophy and plaque as well as opportunities to promote themselves locally and internationally through the Great Wine Capitals Global Network.\
• Wine Tourism refers to tourism whose purpose is or includes the tasting, consumption or purchase of wine, often at or near the source. Wine tourism is a kind of tourism highly developed in many regions around the world. It can be as simple as hopping on a wine shuttle or as complicated as renting a villa in the south of France for a month. It consists of visits to wineries, vineyards and restaurants known to offer unique vintages as well as organised wine tours, wine festivals or other special events.
• Our wine industry is growing: New Zealand had 358 wineries in 2003, 585 wineries in 2008, and as at April 2012 has 703 wineries.
• The wine industry is an important contributor to the New Zealand economy and in 2009 it was worth $991 million. 74% of this production came from the five Christchurch / South Island regions. However there is room to grow further and Great Wines Capital network will look to support that growth.
• When Christchurch/South Island became part of the Great Wine Capitals network in 2009 it represented 329 wineries – this has increased to 374 wineries.
• New Zealand currently has 10 wineries that enjoy grape wine sales in excess of 4 million litres per year – there were only six such wineries in 2009.
• Wine tourism is relevant on both a national and international level. In New Zealand in 2009 we drank 13.9 litres of New Zealand wine each (per capita). We exported 112.6million litres.
• The Great Wine Capitals (GWC) Global Network (www.greatwinecapitals.com) was founded in Bordeaux, France 10 years ago with a goal to bring together the world’s most prestigious wine regions to enhance their economic, education, and tourism projects.
• Until 2010, there were eight members, including; Bilbao/Rioja (Spain), Bordeaux (France), Cape Town (South Africa), Florence (Italy), Mainz (Germany), Mendoza (Argentina), Porto (Portugal) and San Francisco/Napa Valley (USA).
• Members of the Network engage in sub activities including: running international best of wine tourism awards, funding annual international student grants and maintaining a growing database of international wine writers and connoisseurs.
• The Network brings together cities that are gateways to internationally-renowned wine regions, for example San Francisco – gateway to the renowned wine region of Napa Valley.
• Only one city per country can be accepted into the Network, and that city must represent an internationally-recognised wine region, have an international airport and have an academic institution that specialises in wine science.
• In early 2009, the Christchurch City Council (CCC), in conjunction with Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC) and Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism (CCT), consulted with the five South Island wine regions and an application was submitted shortly after in June 2009.
• Following a visit from representatives of the global Network, Christchurch ? South Island officially became the ninth GWC of the world in October 2009.
• The Network provides an additional tool for South Island wine regions to market their products and improve sales. This will provide economic benefits across the whole of the South Island.
• Four committees make up the Christchurch | South Island GWC, including: communications (led by CCC), business development (led by CDC), tourism (led by CCT) and education (led by Lincoln University). Within each of these committees is representation from each of the five South Island wine regions and a collaborative approach is taken when engaging in Network activity.