Central Otago couple taps into fresh wine venture
@devlincolle A trip to Italy 12 years ago inspired a Central Otago couple to set up their dream wine business, but it has been a long time in the making.
Until last year Peter and Elaine Kelly, of Bannockburn, had been busy with various business commitments in Australia and New Zealand. The couple, who are also part owners of Mount Michael Wines in Cromwell, had always wanted to sell "fresh" wine on tap after tasting amazing tap wine in an Italian dairy.
"We had been dreaming about this for many years but the timing was never right and we knew it would be a considerable investment," Mr Kelly said.
The opportunity came for the husband and wife team last year when they came to a "crossroads" in their lives and set up Winetap.
"We did about six months of intensive research before setting up - looking into providing equipment and the potential to expand," Mr Kelly said.
The trend for selling wine on tap started about 18 months ago in New Zealand and the Kellys believed they were one of a few businesses in the country specialising in the concept.
The couple buy the wine directly from vineyards and it goes directly into their kegs and then to the customer's glass.
The wine was fresh because it was "poured and not stored" and was decanted straight from vineyard vats into stainless steel kegs, Mrs Kelly said.
The wine contained no added preservative for shelf-life purposes, so should be consumed fresh, she said.
It also had a 80 per cent lower carbon footprint than the bottled variety, which had received a positive responses from customers.
Winetap had proved to be such an initial success, the couple invested in a motorhome and took their business on the road.
The couple travel around the South Island selling wine in kegs to restaurants and they supply various places in Queenstown and Southland, including Invercargill Brewery, Buzz bar in Lumsden and an Italian restaurant in Te Anau.
Although travelling meant they were away from home for weeks at a time, it allowed them to be flexible with orders and make faster deliveries. It also meant the couple could promote their venture at various events and festivals.
There was demand for Central Otago wine on tap in the North Island and they planned to expand into that market shortly.
The long-term goal for the couple was to sell their product in Australia, which they had begun to explore.
"I predict there will be so much demand, we may not be able to handle it all," Mr Kelly said.
- © Fairfax NZ News