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Central Otago Cellar Doors investing on back of Tourism boom - 19 December 2016

New Zealand’s Tourism boom is having some positive spin offs for the Central Otago wine tourism industry with a number of wineries investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in new developments.

The recently released Tourism New Zealand’s Annual Report for 2015/16 shows it was a record year for international inbound tourism numbers, levels of tourist expenditure, referrals to travel partners and industry, and visitors to it’s digital media sites.

Tourism New Zealand’s outgoing Chief Executive Kevin Bowler said, “The 2015/16 year was an incredible year for Tourism New Zealand. Records were broken across the board with the organisation increasing the value of international tourism to New Zealand.”

The local Central Otago tourism industry is also showing strong growth with figures recently released from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBI) showing a total spend of $176m to year end October 2016, a 13.5% increase on the previous year. The Queenstown region was also strong with an overall spend of $2077m an increase of 15.7%. The “monthly regional tourism estimates” track spending by international and domestic tourists.

As Glenys Coughlan, Central Otago Winegrowers’ Association General Manager comments, “In recent times we have certainly seen an increase in interest and investment in wine tourism with the overall figure running into the millions of dollars going into new and improved facilities.”

According to Tourism New Zealand statistics, visitor arrivals to New Zealand are expected to grow 5.4 per cent a year, reaching 4.5 million visitors in 2022 from 3.1 million in 2015. A number of Cellar doors in Central Otago are set to capitalise on the predicted strong growth of the tourism sector with Akarua, Wine Solutions, Maori Point, Domaine Road, Quest Vineyard, Felton Road, Tarras Vineyard and Desert Heart all expanding their Cellar door operations.

Rippon Vineyard ran an extremelly successful “pop-up” restaurant this year during the ski season and Wooing Tree have recently released plans to develop a boutique residential and commercial space designed to complement their existing wine business in Cromwell.


Akarua Wines and Kitchen by Artisan was opened early in December near Arrowtown. Teaming up with Artisan catering, Akarua purchased and fully renovated the previously named ‘Walnut Cottage’ an iconic Arrowtown café into an al-fresco dining destination and cellar door.

As Akarua Wines General Manager, Kathryn Pettit states, “Wanting to capitalise on the growth of the Queenstown tourist market was one of the catalyst’s for Akarua creating a wine and food experience closer to Queenstown.”

The new facility includes a restaurant (including an outdoor pizza and BBQ kitchen) and the clever renovation of a shipping container into a modern Cellar door gives passers by the perfect place for wine tasting.

Akarua Wines and Kitchen by Artisan also features a children’s play area and an expansive decked and seating area creating a lovely link to the beautiful gardens.

Akarua’s winery cellar door at Bannockburn continues to remain open and caters to tourists visiting the Bannockburn sub-region.

Akarua Wines and Kitchen by Artisan

Wine Solutions

Utilising existing space in front of their custom designed building in Cromwell the Vintners Collection will be a new addition to the Wine Solutions business early in 2017.

The Vintners Collection hopes to “champion” some of the lesser known wineries, particularly those not operating with a Cellar door.

Operations Manager of Wine Solutions, Emma McDonald explains, “There are so many wonderful producers in our area that many visitors would never strike without doing their research. Because of the boutique nature of our business we feel aligned to support the unearthed gems of the region.”

The Vintners Collection will serve boutique wines, beers and spirits from across New Zealand. The space will be one to enjoy as a tasting room and wine bar; serving espresso coffee, platters with plans for “Foodtruck Fridays”.

Maori Point Vineyard

Maori Point Vineyard located half way between Cromwell and Wanaka on the banks of the Clutha River have always prided themselves on the personal touch when tourists visit their Cellar door. So much so you’ll regularly find their guests tasting and chatting about their wines around the dining room table however the time is right for John Harris and Marilyn Duxson to move their Cellar door from the dining room table to a new purpose built building on the vineyard to showcase their range of Central Otago wines.

As John Harris comments, “with the increasing number of visitors to our Cellar door especially over the summer months we felt the time was right to build the tasting room so that we have somewhere more permanent to host guests and showcase the Maori Point Vineyard story.”

In addition to the new tasting room other developments at the vineyard include a vineyard office, barrel hall and wine pallet store.

It is hoped that the new tasting room at Maori Point Vineyard will be open by Christmas.

Maori Point Vineyard Tasting Room – opening soon


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