The growing number of cruise ships visiting the Marlborough region has provided local wineries with an opportunity to increase export sales and create advocates for their brand in key foreign markets.
Allan Scott Wines founder Allan Scott, says the influx of cruise ship tourists arriving in the area has boosted wine sales and increased traffic through wineries such as his by over 100% per day.
In addition to the fees paid for wine tastings as part of the tour, tourists are also purchasing significant quantities of wine with many buying more than a case of wine at a time.
Scott says along with the increase in wine sales and in particular, Australian visitor numbers to the winery there are additional international marketing benefits for the industry as a whole.
“The wine tours have evolved into an indispensable global marketing tool which brings our target market to our door and allows us to interact with them in a way we could never do in their own country. This ability to directly market to potential consumers has also been a significant revenue generator for us,” says Scott.
This contrasts with a traditional sampling campaign which is organised in a foreign country using a third party distributor and lacks the ability to directly engage with the consumer,” he says.
Scott says historically, entry into the Australian market has been challenging for Kiwi wineries, despite the geographic proximity and favourable trade terms.
He says the Australian market is well serviced with local wine producers and it has a parochial and loyal domestic following.
The increased visitor numbers to the winery means that growers are now able to showcase the entire New Zealand wine experience to international guests, says Scott.
“To sample wines such as ours in Australian supermarkets costs thousands of dollars and cannot be compared to the immersive vineyard tasting sessions and experiences we can host here where the wine was made and can be enjoyed in it’s natural environment,” he says.
“We offer wine and food matching experiences and a full restaurant service. Our aim for the tourists who visit the winery is that they are left feeling as passionate about our wines as we are and become advocates of the brand when they return home to their respective countries,” says Scott.
The reaction to these experiences has been universally positive with many using social media and online blogs to tell others about their New Zealand wine journeys, he says.
Scott says the wine tastings are also popular with tour operators as the wineries are located in close proximity to where the ships dock and offer a unique, accessible NZ experience in an appropriate time frame.