Tourism New Zealand’s new campaign gives wine lovers the perfect excuse to tour some of its famous New Zealand wine regions.

New Zealand is a growing destination of choice among Singaporeans – the annual number of visitors in 2018 was around 61,000, a 30-percent rise from its 2014 numbers – but Tourism New Zealand thinks it can do more. The tourism board earlier this month announced a new regional campaign to promote the country as a holiday destination for Singaporean travelers. Focusing on Wairarapa and Wellington in New Zealand’s North Island and Nelson, Marlborough, and Canterbury on South Island, the fresh campaign is a response to the growing preference among Singaporean travellers to visit less ventured parts of New Zealand in addition to the already well-known Auckland and Queenstown.

For oenophiles among us, this announcement is music to our ears. Wairarapa, Nelson, Canterbury, and Marlborough, are major New Zealand wine regions. Marlborough especially – with its famous wine appellations of Awatere and Wairau valleys – is known as the home of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Indeed Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough comprised a large proportion of New Zealand wine exported to Singapore over the past decade.

New Zealand, a fine wine country.

Like Marlborough, neighbouring Nelson also makes Sauvignon Blanc but grows Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Riesling as well. To Marlborough’s south is Canterbury, which consists two notable winemaking subregions in Wairapa Valley and the Canterbury plains centred around Christchurch.

North of Marlborough across the Cook Strait on the North Island is New Zealand’s city of Wellington. While it doesn’t produce wine the capital is home to many dining destinations complete with wines from across all regions of New Zealand, as well as a burgeoning craft beer scene. Then there’s Wairarapa; you may have heard of Pinot Noir coming from its Gladstone and Martinborough subregions.

Indeed, only the major winemaking regions of Central Otago and Hawkes Bay aren’t listed in the Tourism New Zealand initiative.

As part of the campaign, Singapore Airlines will be adding a seasonal flight to Wellington, while Air New Zealand will be cutting prices on many of its domestic flights to promote travel within the country. The two airlines currently offer three daily services between Auckland and Singapore, 10 times weekly service between Christchurch and Singapore, and a four times weekly service between Wellington and Singapore (via Australia) under their joint alliance.

According to Steven Dixon, Tourism New Zealand’s Regional Manager for South and South-East Asia, tasting world-class wines at the source is a key attraction for many of our Singaporean visitors,” says Dixon.

“Visitors can go winery-hopping in the sauvignon blanc capital of the world, Marlborough; or sip outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the neighbouring Nelson- Tasman region. The Wairarapa region, just a short scenic drive from Wellington, produces acclaimed boutique-style Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc; while Canterbury’s stunning Waipara Valley region has been described as one of the unsung heroes of the wine industry and produces elegant and expressive Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay,” he adds.

Wine tourism to New Zealand wine regions ripe for the picking.

Yet while wine tourism in New Zealand is ripe for the picking, there is a dearth of specialty wine tours from Singapore targeting the country’s various wine regions.

“While winery visits are always included in our various tour packages for Singaporeans to New Zealand, we don’t have one focused purely for wine,” shares Alicia Seah, Director for PR & Communications and Business Development for Dynasty Travel. Dynasty Travel is a key Tourism New Zealand partner for the new campaign. “We can however specially customise a package for groups who want to do winery visits,” she adds.

That’s quite unlike the many packaged tours to famous winemaking regions around the world like Bordeaux and Burgundy in France, or river cruises along Germany’s Mosel or Rhine.

But with the new travel incentives, it’s still going to be a lot more affordable for oenophiles to travel to and explore New Zealand. “With hundreds of tasting rooms, winery restaurants, vineyard accommodation, winery tours and experiences spread across 10 regions, there is something for everyone,” concludes Tourism New Zealand’s Dickson.


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