Cromwell wine event rejected
A lack of industry support has cost Cromwell the hope of hosting a summer wine and food festival in 2018.
At its meeting on Tuesday, the Cromwell Community Board declined a request to the Cromwell Promotions Group for $36,500 to establish a Cromwell-based signature food and wine event to be held in February 2018.
The board had set aside funding and invested in a feasibility study, and at its December meeting it requested the group conduct a survey with the wine and food industry to gauge support.
Central Otago District Council market support adviser Alison Mason said the response had indicated there was support but the proposal did not have support in its current form.
Central Otago Winegrowers Association general manager Glenys Coughlan said the survey established there was ‘‘certainly an interest’’ in creating a new wine and food event that would attract visitors to the region and drive further sales of Central Otago wines, but views were divided about whether Waitangi Weekend was the right time of year and over the suitability of the Cromwell racecourse as a venue as opposed to a vineyard.
Winegrowers were more interested in a region-wide series of events that linked up which would include Cromwell, rather than a Cromwell-based event, she said.
Districts Promotions Group chairwoman Janeen Wood said they were disappointed to not get the wholesale support from the industry.
‘‘A number of wineries had also responded that they weren’t sure that the concept we presented would support the premium positioning that Central Otago wines hold in the market. We need to make sure the promotional dollars we invest are supporting things that can be financially successful, sustainable and deliver long term value to the region.
‘‘We remain of the view that a premium wine and food festival would be an asset to the region, but the concept needs to be some- thing that wineries, food producers and restaurants will actively support. The event would also need to attract considerable patronage from this region and elsewhere.
‘‘I am just hoping it has dropped a seed and something will be forthcoming in the future.’’