New Zealand for wine lovers

JOSH MARTIN
Last updated 14:08 19/05/2014

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Air New Zealand is joining with New Zealand Winegrowers to make the country's vineyards and wineries the toast of the wine tourism world.

The two have signed a memorandum of understanding to promote New Zealand as a destination for wine lovers.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said the partnership would build on the airline's sponsorship of the New Zealand wine awards and its onboard wine selection, which was exclusively from New Zealand.

Luxon said the Air New Zealand cabin crew served six million glasses of New Zealand wine onboard each year.

The memorandum would target lucrative, high-value tourists who enjoyed premium wine and food.

The winegrowers and the airline will jointly promote New Zealand wine in both North America and Asia including a nationwide promotion with a top US retail brand, and a series of consumer and trade events in the US, Canada and China.

International media trips to New Zealand will also be used to promote the country as a food and wine destination.

Luxon said wine tourism was a niche that could benefit New Zealand and Air New Zealand, as the country's reputation for producing high-quality wine grew around the world.

More than a million international visitors had visited New Zealand's vineyards and wineries since 2009, Luxon said, with many more buying New Zealand wine while visiting here.

New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said wine tourists spent 30 per cent more than the average tourist and stayed in the country longer.

Gregan said one of the aims was to attract tourists to keep buying New Zealand wine once they had left the country.

"[The partnership] will allow us to jointly reach these important customers to increase wine exports and tourism to New Zealand," he said.

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