Wineries attract sophisticated spending visitors

Waipara's Black Estate head chef Jacob Stanley and co-owner Penelope Naish.
STACY SQUIRES/STUFF

Waipara's Black Estate head chef Jacob Stanley and co-owner Penelope Naish.

Black Estate in Waipara North Canterbury is one of about 450 wineries benefiting from the tourist influx and a new visitor guide on the NZ Wine website.

Penelope Naish said international tourists have proved a boon, albeit the disruption to the Kaikoura highway following last year's earthquakes has dampened the pace lately. 

Black Estate, recent winner of Cuisine's best winery restaurant, has invested in a nearby residential property for Airbnb guests.

Tourists enjoy wine and food at Black Barn Vineyards in Hawkes Bay.
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Tourists enjoy wine and food at Black Barn Vineyards in Hawkes Bay.

"They're amazing guests because so many of them are well informed and we can learn quite a lot from them," Naish said.

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By number, the majority of wine tourists come from

There is even a smartphone app called Campable connecting motorhome tourists with places to stay, including some vineyards.
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There is even a smartphone app called Campable connecting motorhome tourists with places to stay, including some vineyards.

Australia, followed by the US, UK and Germany, and most of them are independent travellers.   

They tend to be more interested in art and cultural tourism activities rather than adventure activities.

About 24 per cent of Scandinavian visitors described themselves as wine tourists in a recent survey, followed by similar percentages from Finland, Canada, Denmark, England, and the US.

From the vines at North Canterbury winery Black Estate.
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From the vines at North Canterbury winery Black Estate.

Naish said Americans seemed especially keen on the cellar door experience where they can enjoy tastings and discuss the qualities of wine.

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"We work with a few high end tour guides who bring out smaller parties of tourists for an afternoon of wining and dining. We don't have capacity for very large groups." 

Winery tourists stay longer and spend more, estimated on average to be $3700 compared with the $2800 average spend of all visitors.

The view from the Black Estate restaurant in Canterbury.
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The view from the Black Estate restaurant in Canterbury.

A 2014 survey showed Marlborough had the highest number of international tourists visiting wineries (43,000), followed by Auckland (30,000) and Hawkes Bay (24,800), and smaller numbers visiting wineries in Queenstown, Nelson, Wairarapa, Canterbury and Central Otago 4100.

NZ Wine marketing director Chris Yorke said strong TripAdvisor ratings showed how popular the wine tours were, although the biggest thing that turns tourists off is the occasional experience of being charged for wine tasting.

The association's new web pages showcase more than 230 cellar door offerings, 110 winery dining options, 60 vineyard accommodation outlets, and 50 onsite tours.

NZ Wine is also partnering with Tourism New Zealand to develop online tourism training modules for wineries.

Another source of information for wineries and visitors is the wine tourism network web site operated by New Zealand Travel Infocus.

The age groups that feature most are between 25 to 34 (26 per cent), with a drop off during the years people typically raise families, before the next second strongest age group of 55-64 (23 per cent).

The most common accommodation used by wine visitors are hotels and motels followed by privately home stays, holiday parks, and a backpackers.

 - Stuff

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