“Wider Wellington, the Wairarapa region, also has a large number of cellar doors. So the thinking is we are seeing that crossover of domestic and international tourism and the proximity to those larger areas.”
There are also opportunities for Central Otago, Canterbury, the top of the South Island and through Hawkes Bay and Gisborne.
“When you look at a region like Marlborough which accounts for about 80 per cent of our exports we can see that it’s not far off being planted out. “
“That could be five years away, it could be 10 years. That presents challenges but also opportunities in other regions around New Zealand.”
While wine tourism is a great way of connecting directly with consumers, Simcic says wineries need to think about how to create lasting experiences. Engaging online, through mobile and social media is a necessity, he says.
“In the USA the fastest growing distribution channel is online, and we are seeing similar in Australia,” he says. “That growth is coming from the right end of the market, growth in Australian online retailers is in the $NZ10 to $NZ25 a bottle range, which is a good place to be.”
“That is because they are stocking more of the premium and boutique labels online. So it is certainly high growth and we do expect that to continue.”
The Deloitte-ANZ study showed increasing direct-to-consumer (including online) sales volumes had grown particularly among smaller producers.
Overall, the outlook for NZ wine is bright with international visitor numbers forecast to grow to 4.9 million in 2023, presenting a huge opportunity for the sector showcase and market New Zealand’s unique story to the world.
Briar McCormack is bluenotes NZ editor