More communication recommended
Tourism and wine good mix
Better communication between the tourism and wine industries is needed, according to Lincoln University senior lecturer in tourism management, Joanna Fountain. She was the keynote speaker at a wine tourism workshop in Cromwell, organised by Tourism Central Otago and the Central Otago Winegrowers Association. Ms Fountain told the Mirror the tourism industry did not always understand the challenges faced by wineries and the seasonality of their work, while some wineries were unconvinced about the benefits of being a part of the tourism trail. There were frequent calls from the tourism industry for wineries to become more involved, but the vineyards were often small operations which grew from a love of growing and making wine. Their focus was on exporting overseas, not on being a part of the local service industry. Getting involved in wine tourism meant increased infrastructure and staff costs. "Some ask is there any point in being open seven days a week for two people to visit." The tourism industry also needed to better understand the seasonal nature of wine-making. It was time for more communication between the industries, Ms Fountain said. Her presentation to the 70-odd wine and tourism industry representatives who attended the workshop was entitled "making the most of tourism" and addressed two issues – why bother, and how to go about it. "The wine industry does not necessarily know how to make the most out of tourism operators. "We know that people who are interested in wine have a higher income, are more educated – often what we would call cultural tourists – and interested in small scale, authentic experiences." Tourism operators and wineries in every region needed to work together, advocate for each other and not compete. "If you have someone who comes to your cellar door who doesn’t like your style of wine, if you’re aware your neighbour does what they’re looking for, you can recommend them. Make sure the visitor, when they leave the region, has had a totally good experience." Ms Fountain said New Zealand wineries usually provided visitors with a unique, personal experience, often including the chance to talk to the winemaker. There was opportunity to grow this, without losing the uniqueness. Wineries in New Zealand, Australia and the United States had the benefit of growing with the tourism industry, whereas in traditional wine-making areas such as Bordeaux in France, tourism opportunities were being incorporated into established wineries, she said.
Co-operative: Wooing visitors with wine: Lincoln University tourism management senior lecturer, Joanna Fountain, tells awine tourism conference in Cromwell there is plenty of opportunity for the industries to work together, but a better understanding of each other is needed.