Chinese bloggers hail harvest

KAT PICKFORD
Last updated 08:00 17/04/2013
Chinese Bloggers
Scott Hammond

Vineyard heaven: Chinese bloggers Jia Zia Zhu and Xzao Ye Pan share experiences with over a million followers

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Images of Marlborough's blue skies, delicious cuisine and orderly vineyards are being beamed out to a million people around the globe this week.

They are coming from four influential Chinese food and travel bloggers, who are in the province to experience the food, wine, culture and landscape during the grape harvest.

The bloggers, including Xzao Ye Pan, of Beijing, and JiaZia Zhu, of Shanghai, have been continuously updating their websites, making more than 50 entries, since they arrived on Sunday.

The pair, who were selected by a New Zealand Trade and Enterprise campaign, have been raving about Marlborough's friendly people, fresh air, and wonderful food.

"It's totally different here, when I open the window in the morning the air is so fresh, and in the evening the Milky Way is so clear," said Miss Pan, 31.

"There are so few people here, I think life is so simple, but the quality of life is very good."

Miss Pan is a freelance food and wine journalist, who hosts her own Chinese cooking television show, Happy Kitchen.

Miss Zhu is a freelance travel writer who has more than 550,000 followers on microblog site Weibo.com, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter.

While she has been impressed by the region's beautiful green vineyards, dubbing Marlborough "vineyard heaven", the taste of New Zealand milk has been a highlight, she said.

The bloggers' trip was organised by a partnership between Marlborough wineries Jackson Estate, Marisco and Wairau River Wines and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

Villa Maria also has two Chinese bloggers visiting its Marlborough winery this week as part of the same campaign.

Wairau River Wines general manager Lindsay Parkinson said it was fascinating to see how the blog and Weibo posts were generating so much interest.

The trip was an educational experience about New Zealand's culture, and its attractiveness as a holiday destination, as well as the region's wine, he said.

"It's a lot easier to sell the story about Marlborough people and its wine, rather than trying to sell a bottle of wine.

"In actual fact the wine tasting is the least most important part of their experience," he said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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