Glass ban 'threat to wine reputation'

TRACEY CHATTERTON
Last updated 05:00 17/01/2014
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Steve Skinner
JOHN COWPLAND/Alphapix
HERE'S TO YOU: Elephant Hill head winemaker Steve Skinner says presentation is as important as the quality of the wine.

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Hawke's Bay

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Banning glassware from winery concerts and tasting events could damage Hawke's Bay's reputation as a premium wine producer, according to industry experts.

Wineries are upset about a discretionary condition in the proposed draft local alcohol policy, which could ban glassware from events requiring a special licence.

Elephant Hill marketing and sales manager Vince Labat said it would damage the region's reputation as a premium wine producer.

"The focus on promoting quality wines means glass is an essential element of a successful event."

Head winemaker Steve Skinner said labelling and presentation of wine was as important as quality, and plastic cups would diminish the experience for people.

Hawke's Bay Winegrowers Association executive officer James Medina said people could not underestimate the importance of glassware in wine sampling, as the shape of glasses helped promote the aroma of the wine.

There were quality, cost and presentation problems with plastic bottles, and the non-breakable alternatives were inadequate.

Wine glasses were issued at the entry to wine-tasting events and were often the only vessel wines were poured into, so patrons had to take care of the glasses, Mr Medina said. Visitors also kept the glasses as mementoes.

Napier city and Hastings district councils received 300 submissions on the draft policy. It proposes either bringing forward closing time for licensed premises from 3am to 2am, or allowing bars to remain open till 3am but with a one-way door policy.

It also suggests cutting the selling time of alcohol at off-licences from 7am-11pm to 9am-9pm.

Hawke's Bay police support reducing the trading hours for off-licences but want the council to restrict on-licences further.

Senior Sergeant Greg Brown submitted that bars should close at 2am, with a one-way door policy from 1am. Research showed that 54 per cent of alcohol-related harm happened between 1am and 4am.

Mr Brown also wanted the councils to include the Napier suburb of Maraenui, along with Flaxmere and Camberley in Hastings, as restricted areas for future bottle stores.

Public hearings on the draft policy are from February 25 to 27.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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